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mavsfanforever
06-19-2003, 07:18 AM
Link (http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BKN_WIZARDS_JORDAN?SITE=TXDAM&TEMPLATE=SPTBASKETBALL.html)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Wizards found a Jordan who will be right at home in the nation's capital.

Washington native Eddie Jordan, an assistant with the New Jersey Nets for the past four seasons, will be the Wizards' new coach, a team source told The Associated Press.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Jordan agreed to an offer after a meeting Wednesday with owner Abe Pollin. Jordan, who will be the Wizards' seventh coach in six seasons, is expected to be introduced at a news conference Thursday.

If nothing else, the new coach has local ties that were nonexistent under the previous regime of Michael Jordan, who never seemed comfortable away from his Chicago home. Eddie Jordan played for Archbishop Carroll High School, making him a natural candidate for a franchise desperately in need of positive news.

The hiring is the first step of an image rehabilitation for the Wizards and particularly for Pollin, whose messy dismissal of Michael Jordan on May 7 provoked widespread criticism. Jordan had expected to return to his former front office job of president of basketball operations after playing two seasons before sellout crowds, but, in an acrimonious meeting, Pollin informed the star he was not welcome back.


Seeking to appease fans, Pollin since has promised refunds to season ticket-holders if they are not satisfied with his personnel moves this offseason.

Eddie Jordan replaces Doug Collins, Michael Jordan's hand-picked coach, who was fired May 30 as part of Pollin's housecleaning after back-to-back 37-45 seasons.

The Wizards pursued Eddie Jordan after higher-profile coaches Larry Brown and Jeff Van Gundy opted to take other jobs. Brown took over at Detroit, while Van Gundy was hired by Houston.

Pollin initially said he would let Michael Jordan's replacement pick the new coach, but the strategy changed as the pool of available coaches dwindled. Eddie Jordan became available after the Nets lost to San Antonio in the NBA Finals last weekend. He was also a candidate for to replace Brown in Philadelphia.

Pollin has said he would like to have a new president of basketball operations in place by next week's draft. General Manager Wes Unseld remains nominally in charge, but is taking an indefinite leave of absence for health reasons after the draft.

Jordan was often cited as the creative mind behind the Nets' offensive style, which featured point guard Jason Kidd.

"That's a credit to the success we've had here," Kidd said. "You've got to look at that as a positive in the sense of he gets his opportunity to run his show. But at the same time, he wouldn't have had that opportunity if we didn't have the success that we've had."

Before joining the Nets, Eddie Jordan was the head coach of the Sacramento Kings for the final 15 games of the 1996-97 season and the entire 1997-98 season, compiling a 33-64 record.

He will try to turn around a franchise that hasn't won a playoff game since 1988, one with a culture of losing to which even Michael Jordan succumbed. Since 1998, the roll call of coaches includes Bernie Bickerstaff, Jim Brovelli, Gar Heard, Darrell Walker, Leonard Hamilton and Collins.

"I think he'll do good," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "Obviously, when you move six inches over it's totally different, as I found out being an assistant also. I think E.J., he had a couple of years with Sacramento. I think he's ready now."