Flip Saunders Tops D.C.'s List
A creative offensive-minded coach who isn't too proud to use schemes to cover defensive inefficiencies, Saunders seems like the appropriate quality for a team trying to play its way back to the postseason. For Saunders it makes great sense, too. Of the few teams expected to hire a new coach, Washington arguably has the least treacherous road toward improvement. Simply making the playoffs would earn Saunders Coach of the Year consideration; in other situations, the cupboard is either less stocked or the expectations will be higher.
Given that Saunders will be the most expensive coach on the market, a parallel plotline to watch the next few weeks is whether Washington owner Abe Pollin indicates the team can pay luxury tax next season. Without losing a contract, the team's first-round draft pick (No. 6 at worst, more likely to be 2-5) will knock the team over the tax threshold. Pollin has been resistant crossing that road for some time; it's hard to disagree given the atrocity this season has been. How much the Wizards offer Saunders can provide an indication. Actually, by taking the pole position for the most expensive coach, the team is indicating it may be willing to pay tax. Good news for Wizards fans ... for now, at least.
QUICK UPDATE: It's worth noting that Saunders spent some time with the Wizards last preseason as a guest assistant coach.