My Hiatus and the Magical Words of Ted Leonsis | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

My Hiatus and the Magical Words of Ted Leonsis

By
Updated: June 22, 2019

Hello, friends. My name is Rashad Mobley of the site formerly known as Truth About It. As you may or may not have noticed, we’ve been on a four-month hiatus. In fact, before Lukas Kuba’s brilliant article on Tomas Satoransky, Jan Vesely and the imprint the Czechs have left in the NBA, the last article posted on this site was February 8. That was the day Jabari Parker made his sparkling debut in a Wizards uniform (7 points, 9 assists, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, and a blocked shot in just 23 minutes of play). The frivolity of this February feat is even more pronounced when you consider that the Raptors just won the NBA title and real title contenders are in the midst of wheeling and dealing in preparation for the start of free agency on June 30. But that just further underscores how long it has been since this site has consistently produced even a paltry bit of prose.

So, what the hell were we up to the past four months? I’m certainly not foolish enough to speak for my colleagues, because I am sure they will be writing their own mea culpa-ish essays in due time. As for me, I started a new job after eight months of unemployment, and that combined with the usual rigors of being a husband and a father, rendered my mind and fingers feckless.

Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly times when I almost came out of retirement. When Beal was on his magical (but useless) post All-Star break run, I wanted to wax poetic about the maturity of his game, but it never quite happened. When the revamped Raptors with Kawhi Leonard turned into a legitimate playoff contender just a few short years after the allegedly resurgent Wizards swept them, I wanted to write something on the ineptitude of Ernie Grunfeld–but then he was relieved of his presidential duties, which represented yet another opportunity for me to come back and write. Realistically, there were about five or six Wizards-related stories which should have lit a fire in my writing loins, but in each case my comeback stalled like Dwight Howard in 2019.

**As an aside, it is weird writing a story for this site, and not being able to hyperlink fairly recent Truth About It content. That represents even more hiatus-related collateral damage**

Then on Thursday, May 30, the day the NBA Finals were to start, I read/watched NBC Washington’s Chris Miller’s interview with Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis. He covered a few different topics during this chat, but of particular interest to me was his explanation of why it was taking the Wizards so long to replace Grunfeld who was fired the day after April Fool’s Day of this year. The Wizards courted Denver Nuggets General Manager Tim Connolly for a few weeks before he ultimately decided to snub the team he worked for intermittently from 1996-2000, and stay with the Nuggets. So surely Leonsis would want to clear the air and possibly announce a new candidate or at the very least a finite timetable right? Not so much:

These are multi-billion enterprises now. I’ve invested in, I’ve led, I’ve run other multi-billion franchises. The notion that you would hire a leader [based on] a two-hour interview in business would be scoffed at.  That’s irresponsible to your shareholders. My intent on this is to be very, very thorough.”

Leonsis was basically telling Chris Miller and the rest of the world to trust him because he’s had endless experience putting out much bigger fires than the open GM slot, and he was NOT going to be rushed by the media, the fans or anyone else. His words, and the defiance behind them, resonated with me.

Sure, it had been nearly five months since I put the figurative pen to paper, and yes that is quite ill-advised when Wizards-related news stories are flowing all around me like the Force. But I’ve been writing about the Wizards for 11 years, and I’ve given the world (OK, mostly Washington, D.C.) plenty of stellar content.  I’m entitled to take an extended break because whenever I do come back, I will continue to churn out solid, thoughtful pixels.

So, I decided to double-down in the hiatus department, which means I started, stopped and deleted countless number of drivel-filled drafts. I kept telling myself I was on break, but when the wont to write appeared, I lacked the drive to produce something cohesive. But then that #SoWizards song starting playing and it summoned me like a clear bat signal on a cloudy Gotham night. I gradually powered through my writing hiatus and started the comeback.

First the rumors of Masai Ujiri coming to D.C. for millions and an ownership stake started to circulate.  First Ben Standig reported it, then Woj, then it was everywhere.

Then Ted Leonsis, not via an interview, but via a statement, came out and first praised Ujiri for leading the Raptors to the title, and then denied that he or any of the Wizards staff had attempted to reach out to Ujiri about a job.

Right before the draft, Woj reported that not only would the Wizards be navigating the draft sans a GM, but they were also considering offering Bradley Beal a three-year extension worth $111 million. Beal’s name has been unofficially mentioned in trades for the past several months, and Leonsis has repeatedly said publicly that both Beal and the injured Wall are made, untouchable men. While that extension sounds nice on paper, Beal could get a larger four-year extension in the summer of 2020, or become a free agent and sign a max five-year deal in 2021.

When draft time arrived the Wizards–presumably Tommy Sheppard–were quite active. They first drafted Rui Hachimura, a talented forward out of Gonzaga, who the Wizards didn’t even bother to meet with before the draft.  Then they executed a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. They sent the Sixers cash, and the Sixers gave up Jonathon Simmons and the 42nd pick in the draft. The Wizards used that pick to draft Admiral Schofield, a stellar four-year player from the University of Tennessee.

Sheppard, Leonsis and other mysterious front office staff probably put a great deal of love and thought into each one of these moves, but again, there was no General Manager/Team President laying out a vision for the future, or a thought-process behind the players selected. From the outside, it appears as if they are basically winging it with free agency less than a week away.

So, if Leonsis and his staff of interim front officers can wing it while running a franchise that isn’t anywhere close to contending in the East, let alone for a title, surely I could shed months of rust and write a little something right? If they can pull off the greatest trick by convincing the world that a permanent GM/President role doesn’t exist or matter, surely I could just re-appear after months in self-imposed exile, and just start writing like I never left right?

We’ll see how it goes.

 

 

 

 

Rashad Mobley on FacebookRashad Mobley on InstagramRashad Mobley on Twitter
Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.