HoopsHype Ted Leonsis rumors

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April 19, 2013 Updates

“A key thing for us is try and keep Martell,” Leonsis said about the small forward who will become a free agent July 1, “and see what we’re going to do with John to keep him with the team for a long, long time. I think the fans would expect that to try to keep the nucleus of the team together and add around it.” CSNWashington.com

April 18, 2013 Updates

The most interesting nugget likely came when he was asked by Chenier about what the team’s focus would be during the offseason. “Well there’s lots of ways to improve the team: trades, free agency,” Leonsis said. “Obviously — unfortunately — we’ll have another high pick. And maybe we’ll get lucky and move up a couple of spaces so that we can pick 1, 2 or 3 again. We see Bradley Beal, he’s a real player, he was picked third. And you’re right, we’re gonna have a really really good backcourt with him and John. “But free agency, I think, is a way that we can use to improve the team,” Leonsis continued. “And probably the key thing for us is to try and keep Martell [Webster], and see what we’re gonna do with John [Wall] to keep him with the team for a long, long time. I think that the fans would expect that, to try and keep the nucleus of the team together and then add around it.” Washington Post

April 5, 2013 Updates

Shortly after taking control of the Washington Wizards and Verizon Center in 2010, Ted Leonsis started asking team employees what he figured was an obvious question with an easy answer: Where’s the trophy? But instead of a simple answer, all Leonsis got in return was a lot of puzzled looks, shrugged shoulders and I-don’t-knows. Nobody, it seemed, had any clue as to the whereabouts of the 1978 Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, symbolizing the lone NBA title in Bullets/Wizards franchise history. But then, finally, there was a breakthrough. Someone recalled someone else saying sometime awhile back that Smokey Bowie, the late building manager/head engineer/jack-of-all-trades who had been with the franchise since the old Capital Centre days until passing away a few years ago, had at some point taken it home with him for safekeeping. And sure enough, a carload of team employees dispatched to Bowie’s old house found the trophy — scuffed up, tarnished and dented — at the bottom of a closet. Washington Post

“They bring it in,” Leonsis recalled this week, “and it’s got dings in it, it’s matted, not shiny. My wife [Lynn] is best friends with the woman who runs Tiffany’s in Tysons Corner, so I asked her to look at it, and I said, ‘Look at this – this is what we spend a billion dollars over our lifetime to try to win, and it’s been sitting in someone’s closet. Can you fix it?’ It took about three months, but it came back perfect.” Washington Post

This weekend, the Wizards are hosting a reunion of the 1977-1978 Bullets NBA championship team, with a private cocktail party and dinner Friday night, a Q-and-A session with season-ticket holders prior to Saturday night’s game against Indiana and a halftime ceremony featuring the unveiling of a new championship banner. Among the confirmed attendees are Irene Pollin, Abe’s widow; Dick Motta, coach of the championship Bullets; general manager Bob Ferry; and at least 10 players from that team, including 100 percent of the acclaimed frontcourt of Bobby Dandridge, Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. Fans in attendance will receive a replica of the 1978 championship ring. Washington Post

March 5, 2013 Updates

Saunders, now an ESPN analyst, was asked by ESPN 980′s Thom Loverro this week whether the Wizards’ current progress is aided by the roster purge over the last 12 months, in which the “knuckleheads” — to use Loverro’s term — were discarded. (Audio here.) “No question,” Saunders said. “I was a proponent from day one of changing that whole atmosphere. Having been in situations where we had success in both Detroit and in Minnesota, we didn’t have that… When I was there, I made my feelings pretty well known. And actually when I left — and had meetings with Ted Leonsis when I left — I pretty much said the same thing: that the team is not gonna take any type of steps until you clean out some of that knucklehead — like you said — the knucklehead factor and get everyone more on the same page.” Washington Post

February 7, 2013 Updates

My first reaction to seeing Ted Leonsis’s recent appearance on Bloomberg TV was holy wow, he’s lost a lot of weight. You can’t really do an entire blog post based on images of someone’s torso, though — well, unless it’s Alex Ovechkin, or John Wall, or Rex Grossman. So let’s move on to what Leonsis was actually discussing, which was his continuing push toward at least partial ownership of a sports network. “I think everyone who owns a sports team, and especially those who own multiple sports teams, has to look at what is the way that they can grow their revenue and be competitive on the ice or on the court, and that’s to generate more media dollars,” Leonsis said. “And one of the ways to do that is to launch and own, or own a part of, your own network. Washington Post

“Local and social and mobile is the fastest growing segment of the internet media market,” Leonsis later said. “If you just look at your own wallet, where you write checks to and send your money to, about 80 percent of your wallet is spent within 20 miles from your home. Sports teams and arenas, we activate a lot of that local spending and time online and interest. “And what we want to be able to do is create media properties, so that as you’re going to the game, if you’re watching the game on television, we can provide you data and information and services about your city, about sports, about youth hockey, about youth baskestball, about college basketball, college hockey, so that we can get more and more of your time,” Leonsis said. “And by creating it and being optimized for social and for mobile – in fact, in our first two weeks, almost half of our traffic was generated either from Twitter or Facebook, or from a mobile device. So we’re already seeing great traction through those venues.” Washington Post

January 31, 2013 Updates

Ok, ok, ok, last bit of transcription from Ted Leonsis’s Wednesday morning appearance on WTOP’s Ask the Owner segment. (Listen here.) Wednesday, I mostly concentrated on his comments about the Caps. So for all you Wizards lovers out there (I see you! Over there! Hiding in the corner!), here are Leonsis’s thoughts on this season, which has been completely ruined by that disastrous start. “You can communicate to the fans and say nobody can plan for the loss of five of eight players, especially when you’re in the midst of a rebuild,” the owner said. “We weren’t a veteran team to begin with, that had a strong foundation. But no one wants to hear that. And so, as you communicate that, really it sounds like spin and hype and justification for starting 0-12. We didn’t win a game in our first dozen games. And the fans, they’re bottom-line oriented. They want you to win. And again, I apologize. There’s nothing we can do about that one.” Washington Post

January 30, 2013 Updates

“There’s a new ticketing system this year, which I understood did work better in succeeding games, but the first game at home turned out to be somewhat of a disaster for the digital ticketing….” the WTOP host began. “That’s not true,” Leonsis said. “It was a very cold night, that opening night. And we had two things that were going on. One was a security system. Across the league, we’re taking security much more diligently, and it starts at entering the building, and so we’re wanding people. That was really the major issue. And it was cold. Washington Post

January 24, 2013 Updates

So, what is a realistic goal moving forward, a benchmark for something other than failure? Leonsis recently suggested it was a .500 mark. “I really want to see what the team can do,” he told WRC’s Dan Hellie last week, on the day of the Caps’ open practice at Verizon Center. “And we obviously have to add to the team, bring more talent in. We can do that through the draft, we can do that through trades and free agency. “I did think we could compete and be a .500 kind of team, and if we had played .500 we’d be in the playoffs right now, or at least the playoff hunt. So I’d like to see us play .500, playoff-caliber like basketball for the next 45 games, 48 games, whatever’s left this year, and just see what we’ve got. Washington Post

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

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