Washington Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis spoke with the media for over 30 minutes on Thursday evening from team’s training camp on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. TAI was there. Below is part one of all that — some stuff in video, some in text.
Posts for category ‘Ownership’
After seven seasons, 7-Day ‘Dray is no longer a Washington Wizard, cast away by means of the amnesty provision on July 17. Some are still celebrating, some are still contemplating… the TAI crew of Adam McGinnis, Sean Fagan, Dan Diamond, Rashad Mobley, and Kyle Weidie take you through an FAQ on the official departure of Andray Blatche.
Q: When did Blatche’s time with the Wizards go south? And Why?
A: Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)
On June 28, NBA Commissioner David Stern strode across the Prudential Center stage to the podium and announced that Florida guard Bradley Beal was coming to play for the Washington Wizards. Prior to the draft, he became the most coveted prospect not named Anthony Davis. ESPN’s Andy Katz reported that the Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers all were willing to trade up to get Beal. None did, and the Wizards selected their man with the third pick.
Besides football toughness and high character, Beal brings sorely needed shooting and rebounding to the Wizards backcourt. Former guard Nick Young was a legitimate scorer, but did little else. Incumbent guard Jordan Crawford is also blessed with the scorer’s gene and the knack for an occasional timely pass, but defense, rebounding, and consistency are not parts of his repertoire.
Beal’s arrival, combined with the acquisitions of Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, gives Wizards fans and coaches every reason to believe that change is coming. Those three combined with the still-maturing John Wall, a couple of promising kids in the fold, and a steady Nene for an entire season represent a new beginning … again.
In case there is any confusion, this 2012 version of “new beginnings” is slightly different than the one we saw in 2009. Then, Ernie Grunfeld and Abe Pollin tried to generate enthusiasm with the arrivals of Flip Saunders, Mike Miller and Randy Foye on top of a retread roster (Foye specifically said it was a “new beginning” for him at media day — it always is). The luster drastically wore off after uneven play, a gun incident, and trades that caused the Wizards to finish 26-56. The very next season, a game-changing new beginning was offered up by new owner Ted Leonsis in the form of number one draft pick John Wall, who received the limousine and red carpet treatment from the Wizards brass. Wall showed flashes of speed and brilliance during his rookie year, but his lack of a strong supporting cast was exposed, and by his second year, it was clear that more change was needed. This planted the seeds for this current version of a new beginning.
[Heaven is a playground in Oklahoma City--and perhaps Wizards fans will get there, one day.
A word of warning: I’m Truth About It’s resident pessimist. You may remember me from such posts as “Memo to NBA: Contract the Wizards” and “Clearly, God Hates DC Basketball Fans.” (OK, I made that second one up.)
But I don’t feel like a pessimist today. Just a realist.
Kyle and John have artfully explained why the big Emeka Okafor-Trevor Ariza-Rashard Lewis deal is a net good for the Wiz.
Still, I think we need to go by a simple question: What Would Oklahoma City Do?
Answer: Not this.
Tags: emeka okafor, kevin durant, New Orleans Hornets, nick collison, oklahoma city, oklahoma city thunder, rashard lewis, trade, trevor ariza
[UPDATE: It seems the Wizards are actually working on bringing back Wittman for two seasons, per reports. There's also a quote from a "source" via the Post's Michael Lee that this is "completely a money decision." And while I won't deny that the financial situation could be a factor, to say it's "completely" about money, whomever is saying that, is B.S. And who is saying that anyway? An agent because a job opportunity for a coaching client isn't open like they had hoped? Maybe, maybe not, but B.S. nonetheless, at least in this writer's opinion.]
We’ve heard enough hints about Randy Wittman returning to coach the Washington Wizards, wiped free from the interim tag, that we really don’t need a national report, according to league sources, from ESPN’s Ric Bucher to tell us so.
“…even though no official announcement is expected anytime soon,” concludes Bucher’s first sentence announcing Washington’s plans to retain Wittman.
[Ernie Grunfeld hoping to get lucky. Courtesy SportsPickle.]
The Wizards stink.
And that isn’t my grumpy reaction. It’s a sad, embarrassing fact.
I love our NBA franchise. I’ve just hated watching them suffer. Although TAI readers weren’t thrilled about my suggestion that the league contract the Wizards, to save us all the pain.
So here’s what you think we should do instead.
[A rare lead. Screenshot via Comcast.]
Sacramento. Golden State. Detroit.
Everyone beats the Wiz.
So I say—let’s join ‘em.
Break them up. Dismantle the court. Burn the uniforms.
Make the Wizards disappear.
ShareBullets… a run-down of commentary on recent Wizards subjects, and links…
Kobe on the Rebuild in Washington.
The below video is a bit old… it’s from the Los Angeles Lakers locker room after they lost to the Wizards in D.C. on March 7 (The Lakers said WHAT?); Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher speak in the video, sort of. Kobe tries his best to keep his answers to one word (he’s even asked by if his post-game media session in Washington is the most “Belichick” he’s ever been), Gasol says the loss was “embarrassing,” and Fisher, playing in his final loss as a Laker, says, “I’ve been around long enough to realize that you can’t allow yourself to be defined by the changing opinions of the critics or media personal that cover our game.”
The most pertinent question for Wizards fans, however, is when Kobe’s asked what needs to happen in Washington to get the franchise to the point of respectability. “Got to make the right decisions,” said Kobe plainly. “You got to make the right decisions from a management standpoint, the players you bring in here. That’s all it is, just making the right choices.” With calls for Ernie Grunfeld’s job reaching the generic sports column platform of the Washington Post, you have to wonder how the current team president’s track record of decision-making has been evaluated by current team ownership.
[Remember planking? Or is G-Wiz just dead on Ted Leonsis' desk?]
Here at the 2012 NBA All-Star break, exactly halfway through Ted Leonsis’ three-year rebuilding plan, it’s hard to think about the future of the Washington Wizards without contemplating how they got here. Before this season, Leonsis stated that he wanted to rip the rear-view mirrors off his Ferrari of a franchise and only look forward. The glaring metaphorical omissions by the owner being, a) he may have made modifications to the car, but he didn’t change the driver, team president Ernie Grunfeld, and b) no race car driver would ever compete without a way to see behind them, else they put themselves in an unnecessarily dangerous situation. And we wonder why the Wizards are where they are now.
Teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz have been broken down and are now stocked with better future talent than the Wizards. The Cavaliers only got a trade exception, a couple future first-round picks and a couple second-round picks from Miami in return for LeBron James. But the key to their current situation was sending Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and a 2011 first round pick. That pick turned out to be the first overall selection, Kyrie Irving. Combined with Cleveland’s fourth pick, Tristan Thompson, and whatever player development they have working in their favor (really, look at Cleveland’s roster and tell me it’s more talented than the Wizards), the Cavaliers have achieved post-LeBron promise faster than anyone expected.
The Jazz were able to parlay Deron Williams off on Jay-Z and the Russians for a bounty of prospects — Derrick Favors and two first-round picks. One of those picks netted Utah Enes Kanter third overall in last year’s draft, and they used their own ninth pick to select Gordon Hayward in 2010. Utah also simply had a better core of players and better player development in place. They found Paul Millsap with the 47th overall pick in 2006. Al Jefferson came from Minnesota in a July 2010 exchange for Kosta Koufos, a first-round pick that turned out to be Donatas Motiejunas, and another future first-rounder. In rebuilding past the Deron Williams-Andrei Kirilenko-Mehmet Okur-Carlos Boozer core that was swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference semi-finals, Utah put better veterans in place to support the young core now in development.
Weekend pictures of Baltimore and stories from its past with pro basketball…
1st Mariner Arena, Baltimore, MD (formerly the Baltimore Civic Center and the Baltimore Arena).
Box of Natty Boh – Soliders and Sailors Monument, W. 29th St. & N. Charles Ave., Baltimore.