HoopsHype Ted Leonsis rumors

December 15, 2012 Updates
December 12, 2012 Updates

The Washington Wizards turned down a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder for James Harden this summer because team owner Ted Leonsis was unwilling to commit to what would have been a roughly $80 million, five-year contract for the high-scoring player, according to multiple people with knowledge of the proposed deal. Washington Post

Leonsis, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld and Thunder General Manager Sam Presti all declined comment when asked about the proposed trade. One Wizards official denied that Oklahoma City had offered Harden in exchange for Beal and Singleton, stating that the Thunder was also seeking an established player — which the Wizards didn’t have — in return. “That’s not true,” the official said about the proposed deal. Washington Post

December 3, 2012 Updates

Ted Leonsis: Frankly, more than half our team is now made up of seasoned and complementary playing vets. We have seven new vets in our lineup this season as well. And Cartier Martin, who has played with our team before. People advocate for change, and sometimes having so much change at a time when you also have core players out with injuries makes for a very tough start to a season. I am supportive of our young players, and will continue to advocate that we build around a core of players that we have drafted and developed. We have made trades to add the vets. We have done some free agent signings. What we haven’t done is wade into free agency to add a big star to our team. Ted Leonsis

Ted Leonsis: Jan Vesely and Trevor Ariza are best situated in a running, fast-paced offense. We have now had to slow down play without John Wall in the lineup, and we are asking players to play half court sets. This is a miss -match for their specific skill sets. Jan Vesely is in his second year of development. You always support a young, talented player, who is 7 feet tall, can run and is fundamentally sound. Jan has our support, and is working hard to develop his all-around game. But this is his second year in the NBA, and he is playing without a starting point guard who can push the pace of play. We shouldn’t be so fast to write him off as a player. This is easy to do in media but not something that is smart to do for our franchise. I support Jan Vesely. Ted Leonsis

November 28, 2012 Updates

Fisher also asked the owner if franchises/leagues can take actions that are so alienating as to cause lasting damage to a fanbase. “I can’t speak for other sports franchises, but I empathize with a fan’s disappointment when a team doesn’t win,” Leonsis responded. “I’m a fan too. But we are acutely focused on first-class customer service and providing a best-in-class game experience at Verizon Center. Fans devote their time and money – and occasionally their pixels – and our entire organization recognizes and appreciates their commitment.” Washington Post

And Fisher also asked if sports fans can actually increase their attachment to a team during bad times, thus making the eventual good times even more enjoyable. “Sports fans, just like most endeavors in life, want to be part of the winning,” Leonsis responded. “When you are on the ground floor and eventually see your thought, idea, company or team start to gain momentum, it feels great. There is a romance associated to sticking with a team through its tough times, and when that team begins to have success, you feel a sense of gratification – or at least that has been my personal experience.” Washington Post

November 27, 2012 Updates
October 9, 2012 Updates
October 5, 2012 Updates

Little more than two months later, the two cornerstones of the rebuilding efforts – Wall and Nene – are both sidelined with injuries before the training camp began. Leonsis expects to have Wall in about seven weeks, and for hopes Nene will be available for the season opener on Oct. 30, but he tempered expectations slightly when asked on Thursday about his draft-night comments. “We would all find it unacceptable if we finished with the second- or third-worst record in the NBA this year,” Leonsis said. “That would be a failure and the failure would start with me.” Washington Post

Ted Leonsis on if he is concerned about Wall putting too much pressure on himself: “I don’t know. And yes and no. I am thrilled with his self awareness. That he’s our leader who we’ve rebuilt the team around and he worked incredibly hard this offseason to take that next step. His physiognomy changed. He’s bigger. He’s stronger. His athletic gifts are off the chart. He worked a lot on his shot … But he’s a student of the game, so he’s everything you’d want in a young player, mature leader, someone who puts that pressure on him. At the same time, it’s incumbent on us, to build a team around him, that has options … We have to continuously add to the team to make it great and that’s Ernie’s job. That’s my job. That’s the coaches. And John accepts that. He understands that he’s not in this alone.” Washington Post

September 1, 2012 Updates
July 20, 2012 Updates

But Leonsis is clearly ready to distance himself from the past two seasons, in which the Wizards have gone 43-105 and remained one of the league’s worst teams. “I won’t be happy with our plan if we’re back in the lottery,” Leonsis said. “If we just miss making a playoff spot, no, the world is not going to end. If we’re picking third because we have the second-worst record, no, I will not be happy. I want to see demonstrable…we’ve turned over the roster, turned over the coaching staff. We’ve had good drafts.” Washington Post

Q. The decision on Blatche? Ted Leonsis. I’m torn. I believe people should have second and third chances. On the other hand, I don’t know where he fits now in this lineup. On the other hand, he’s the last remaining touchpoint from the previous teams. That’s what [was] being discussed and weighed. I’m not afraid of amnestying him and paying him the money. We have turned the entire lineup in one and three-quarters seasons. We shouldn’t forget Gilbert played here John Wall’s rookie season until he traded himself to Orlando. Now there’s two big questions: Can teams win or is it just the three-star system that works in the NBA? That’s a debate that is going on. Three stars — they won it this year. But the year before, Dallas won and they were more of a team. Washington Post

July 19, 2012 Updates

Ted Leonsis: I don’t think Nick [Young] and JaVale [McGee] were bad people. But they wanted stats. I understand that, relate and get it. But they weren’t playing as a team. You saw at the end of the year with Nene, who already got his big contract, right. So stats weren’t important to him. The little things were important to him.” Washington Post

July 17, 2012 Updates

Today we waived Andray Blatche, exercising the NBA’s amnesty provision. He is now free to join another NBA team. Andray’s time in D.C. didn’t unfold as any of us had envisioned, and we felt it was best for the Wizards – and for Andray too – if we parted ways. I briefly got to know Andray, and I like him and wish him well, but he needs a fresh start somewhere, and we need to move forward with our current core group of players. Ted Leonsis

Those days, it seems, are over. Struck by what he described as the decreasing usefulness of his e-mail exchanges, and by more and more e-mails from out-of-market folks who aren’t fans or customers of his teams, Leonsis announced on Monday that he will “unplug” both his Caps and Wizards e-mail accounts as of Aug. 1. “I’m not learning anything any more,” Leonsis told me Monday afternoon, not long after he had gone through that day’s batch of fan e-mails. “I just found myself spending an hour or two hours every day, and it wasn’t helpful any more. I’m finding that meeting with people one-on-one, being on message boards, reading comments on [The Post’s Web site] — it’s just a better, more efficient way. And to be honest, e-mail has changed. It just has changed dramatically from the way you communicate to the way you sell.” Washington Post

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