The Washington Wizards have made an addition to coach Randy Wittman's staff, hiring former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Don Newman, according to the team. Newman has been with the Spurs since the 2004-05 season, and was with Ernie Grunfeld in Milwaukee from 1999 to 2003. He spent the 2003-04 season with the New Jersey Nets.
Newman comes to the Wizards with a reputation for being a defensive-minded assistant. He nearly left the Spurs for the Phoenix Suns last year, where he would have been Alvin Gentry's de-facto defensive coordinator, but elected not to make the move. The Spurs have historically been one of the league's best defensive teams, though they have slipped on that end in recent years. Newman was also an option for the Detroit Pistons' head coach openings that eventually went to Lawrence Frank.
It remains unclear if Newman is a new addition to the staff or a replacement for someone else. It's worth noting that the Wizards never really had a defensive assistant after Wittman took over the job from Flip Saunders last year, because Wittman himself was originally supposed to be in that role.
Described as an "physically imposing person," Newman played seven years in the Canadian Football League after his brief basketball career ended in the CBA. He went to training camp with the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks.