The Wizards have bucked convention by hiring Sashi Brown as their chief operations and planning officer, as he comes from outside the basketball world. He has served as top executive but in the NFL, not in the NBA. Brown and Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis, though, believe there are plenty of skills that will translate. After all, there are many commonalities in running the front office of professional sports teams. They are constructed similarly with executives, scouts, and medical staffs. And the same principles apply to contract negotiations and pitching free agents.
Storyline: Wizards Front Office
Brown admits it will take some time for him to acclimate to working in a new league, but is confident his experience as a sports executive, in business and as a lawyer will help the Wizards right away. “There is far more that will transfer than I think people would imagine,” he told NBC Sports Washington. “When you have sat in that seat as a GM, the job is so big. These are now billion-dollar enterprises. We’ve got a lot of things that we want to accomplish and you really just can’t have enough talent. That’s what it feels like a lot of days. From technology to strategy to contract and negotiation and league initiatives, but also just operational support; things that we would like to get done day-to-day to be world-class.”
Between Brown and Sheppard, no one is working for the other. Their boss is Leonsis and they are expected to work in tandem. “They can focus on the team and the players and winning titles,” Brown said of Sheppard and those running the Go-Go, Mystics and District Gaming. We’re going to be a team. Tommy talked about being a team of teams. Ted would like that as a vision from the top down.”
There has been no mystery for the Wizards and their intentions to offer All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal a contract extension this Friday, July 26, the first day that they can. General manager Tommy Sheppard told ESPN their plan to offer Beal the full max, projected at $111 million over three years, a contract that would begin with the 2021-22 season. Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis then reiterated as much following the team’s press conference on Monday to introduce their new front office leadership.
Storyline: Bradley Beal Extension?
The Clippers inquired about Washington’s Bradley Beal and Houston’s James Harden, according to league sources, but neither star was available. As The Athletic previously reported, Leonard had an interest in joining forces with Jimmy Butler on the Clippers and, according to ESPN, also reached out to Kevin Durant about teaming up in Los Angeles.
“I talk to Bradley all the time. I’ve previewed everything that we’re doing all along the way. But I don’t expect Bradley — just like you shouldn’t expect me to do an interview with someone in two hours and say, ‘Okay!’ I’m not going to be waiting there, Tommy’s not going to be waiting there for a signature,” Leonsis said. “He’ll want to meet all these people. He’ll want to see what our plans are. But Brad knows he’s respected, he’s loved and we’re committed. And I’m hoping that he believes in this new NBA where it’s two players and a great rotation that ‘Why not us?’
Storyline: Bradley Beal Extension?

Wizards will offer max extension to Bradley Beal

Washington Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard will offer guard Bradley Beal a three-year, $111 million maximum contract extension upon the All-Star becoming eligible to sign on Friday, Sheppard told ESPN. “At the very first moment allowed, we are going to offer Brad the full max extension,” Sheppard told ESPN.
2 months ago via ESPN
This rumor is part of a storyline: 25 more rumors
Beal, 26, has until Oct. 21 to sign the extension, which would start with the 2021-22 season — a decision that agent Mark Bartelstein indicates that Beal will need time to consider. “There are moments in a career where there are big decisions to make, and Brad will work through everything and figure out the right thing to do,” Bartelstein told ESPN. “There are nothing but great feelings for Ted [Leonsis], Tommy and Scott [Brooks]. They’ve treated Brad wonderfully.”
2 months ago via ESPN
Beal has another decision looming this week, as the Wizards can offer Beal a three-year, $111 million contract extension on Friday. Although Bartelstein said he and Beal have remained in contact with newly appointed general manager Tommy Sheppard as well as Ted Leonsis, there is no rush to come to an agreement on the upcoming offer. “We’ll talk to the Wizards. We’ve been talking to the Wizards. Those are things we have to figure out in terms of what’s the right thing for everyone,” Bartelstein said. “We’re not locked in on specific dates in terms of all that. There’s nothing that needs to be decided at this moment. There’s a lot for Brad to consider. Ted and the entire Wizards organization have been nothing but spectacular to us.”
Storyline: Bradley Beal Extension?
“I didn’t spend a lot of time with Tommy because of the hierarchy, but I told him: Let me see how you work,” Leonsis told ESPN. “Let me see how you handle the draft. Let me see a strategy document and a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. He came back and said he needed assets and young players, and that we needed to connect the draft to free agency. Our big goal was to get more coachable players that fit a system that the coaches wanted to play, that would get us younger, hungrier players that would be helped by our development coaches. “And Tommy is also a big believer — like us in ownership — that the world is a big place. He’s very fluent in the global view of basketball.”
2 months ago via ESPN
Eventually, Leonsis didn’t see Sheppard as the extension of an outdated regime that he ousted, but the unleashing of a progressive mind who understood that the modern duties of a GM required the supporting cast that Leonsis has invested to bring to the franchise. “I like [Sheppard’s] dexterity to be able to deal with the existing NBA, but to also really look at it as a global enterprise,” Leonsis said. “My belief is that you can you do things fast. We have the wherewithal and resources and facilities and technology.
2 months ago via ESPN

The No. 9 overall pick came in with high expectations, especially with an entire nation watching him. There were 61 Japanese media members covering Summer League, mainly featuring Hachimura, Grizzlies two-way player Yuta Watanabe, and free agent hopefuls Yudai Baba (Mavericks) and Makoto Hiejima (Pelicans). Now, his attention turns to the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where Hachimura will lead the Japanese national team ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The Washington Wizards’ sideline probably will look slightly different for the 2019-20 season, once the team makes intended internal coaching moves. The Wizards are in the preliminary stages of a shift that would promote Jarell Christian to an NBA assistant coach and have Ryan Richman take over the head coaching duties with their G League franchise, the Capital City Go-Go, according to several people with knowledge of the plans that have not yet been finalized.
The expected in-house moves reflect only minor alterations to Brooks’s staff, a unit that has remained relatively constant in his three seasons as Washington’s head coach. The staff also consists of veteran coach Tony Brown, former player Robert Pack, who coached the Wizards during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Mike Terpstra and Maz Trakh.
Steve Buckhantz was in the hospital when the dagger came. The decision itself was only so surprising. Really, Buckhantz had a strong suspicion that he’d called his final Wizards game in the spring, when NBC Sports Washington declined to exercise the option on his contract. Yet the network had left the door open to a possible return, pending auditions with other candidates, and so the recently enshrined D.C. Sports Hall of Famer, a DMV native, and lifelong Bullets fan, remained willing to return, to do the job he’d done for 22 years, calling the hometown team he’d spent his whole life loving. And then the call came Tuesday night, not long before The Athletic published a story reporting NBCSW had closed in on a single candidate, FOX’s Justin Kutcher, to replace Buckhantz in the booth.
The entire process has been, in a word, cowardly. This would be true even if Buckhantz were not Steve Buckhantz. This would be true if he was a fresh, recent hire with no real track record. It would be true if he were wildly unpopular with fans and viewers. It would be true if even if he hadn’t long ago crossed the threshold into being the kind of comfortable, familiar broadcaster most professional sports franchises and broadcast partners do everything in their power to find, develop and retain – the voice Wizards fans instinctually hear in their heads, the soundtrack to their formative memories. It would be true even if Buckhantz didn’t provide some of the more enjoyable moments in an otherwise mostly moribund 22 years of professional televised basketball. The vast majority of Wizards fans online have argued against the merits of the decision itself.
The Washington Wizards’ sideline should look slightly different for the 2019-20 season as the team intends to make internal coaching moves. The Wizards are in the preliminary stages of a shift that would promote Jarell Christian to an NBA assistant coach and have Ryan Richman take over the head coaching duties with their G League franchise, the Capital City Go-Go, according to several people with knowledge of the plans that have not yet been finalized. Last year, Christian coached the expansion minor-league team in its inaugural season while Richman worked as one of the Wizards’ five assistant coaches.
Former Wizards Drew Gooden and Caron Butler are expected to share the TV analyst role alongside Kutcher, with Gooden calling a majority of the games. The analyst position became available when Kara Lawson, who served as Buckhantz’s broadcast partner for the past two seasons after she replaced Phil Chenier, was hired as an assistant coach by the Boston Celtics last month.
Storyline: Media Hirings
Wizards’ top spot: Team executive after executive had the same question when the Washington Wizards’ unresolved top front-office job opening came up. “Why not just give Tommy the job?” Tommy is Tommy Sheppard, the Wizards’ longtime exec, who has been running basketball operations since owner Ted Leonsis decided not to bring Ernie Grunfeld back. Sheppard ran the draft, free agency and the Wizards’ Summer League team, but he doesn’t have the full-time job.
Storyline: Wizards Front Office
After months of searching, NBC Sports Washington is making progress on finding Steve Buckhantz’s replacement. Fox’s Justin Kutcher has emerged as the leading candidate to be the next play-by-play voice of the Wizards, according to sources with knowledge of the hiring process. Kutcher, a Connecticut native, has worked for Fox since 2012 and has called college football, college hoops and MLB games during his time there. He first came to D.C. to interview and audition for the job in early May, according to a source.
“I am used to it now, especially after the draft. It was crazy talking English and Japanese back and forth. But I have gotten used to it,” Hachimura told The Undefeated. “One of my jobs is to represent Japan. People want to see me right now. I’m everywhere right now in Japan on TV, newspapers. I am doing it for my country and the little kids watching me.” Seeing a large Japanese media contingent following baseball players in America has been commonplace for a while. Major league baseball stars past and present, from Hideo Nomo to Ichiro Suzuki to Hideki Matsui to Yu Darvish to Shohei Ohtani, have primarily answered questions from the North American media in English through a translator and then in Japanese with their native media. That won’t be the case for Hachimura.
Hachimura will face pressure that’s unlike what most NBA rookies will experience next season. Answering questions separately for the North American and Japanese media will be a daily occurrence for him. He has already landed endorsement deals with Jordan Brand and Nissin Foods, which makes Cup Noodles, and said he has more on the horizon. Meanwhile, the spotlight will be on him later this summer when he suits up for Japan at the World Cup in China. But for this 21-year-old, who grew up in the social media age, all this attention is just part of his world. “It has been like this since I was a kid. It’s not like a big deal for me,” Hachimura said. “I want to be the face of Japanese athletes. That is why I have to do it.”
Bobby Marks: 14 2nd rd. picks have now signed contracts. Top 4 in salary for 2019-20. 33. Bruno Fernando (ATL)- $1.4M 34. Carsen Edwards (BOS)- $1.2M 48. Terance Mann (LAC)- $1M 42. Admiral Schofield (WAS)- $1M Nice job by @PrioritySports who represents Fernando, Edwards and Schofield.
A trade seemed like the farthest thing on Beal’s mind at the NBA Summer League. He squeezed in quality time with the Wizards before jetting to Atlanta to support his own AAU team. Inside Thomas & Mack Center on UNLV’s campus, Beal laughed easily and appeared relaxed, not at all stressed about his future. Still, many within the NBA wonder if this happy scene will merely stay in Vegas. “If he doesn’t accept [the extension],” said a rival general manager, “it will be a big blow to Washington.”
Meanwhile, even though the Heat has displayed strong interest in trading for Washington guard Bradley Beal, Wizards vice president/basketball operations Tommy Sheppard told The Athletic that Washington has given no thought to trading Beal. “Not at all,” Sheppard said. “It’s never crossed our mind. Bradley is somebody we’re building around. He’s been involved with everything we’re doing in the draft, free agency. We need his opinion. We want this team to be a reflection of what he is all about.”
When free agency started, you were linked to a number of teams and then ultimately signed with the Washington Wizards. Can you walk me through what this free-agency period was like for you and what factors you were considering? Isaiah Thomas: This free-agency period was all about opportunity. That’s what it came down to and what it was all about for me: being put in a position where I can be successful and having a big enough opportunity to show the world that I can still play at a high level. When the Wizards called and showed interest, with John Wall being out possibly the whole year, that seemed like a big opportunity for me to be able to showcase that I’m 100 percent healthy and that I can still play at the high level that I’m used to playing at. That was the biggest thing – that was the only thing – coming into this free agency. I’m excited. I’m excited just to join this Wizards team and I can’t wait to take advantage of this opportunity.
When people are writing you off and doubting what you’ll be able to do this upcoming season, what’s your reaction to that? Isaiah Thomas: I don’t really pay too much attention to it. I see it and it’s obviously there because I’m a big name and, for whatever reason, everybody always likes to talk about the things that are going on with me. But I don’t need it as motivation; I’m already really motivated. My kids motivate me. Being hurt motivated me and made want to get back to a high level. Those type of things don’t motivate me anymore. I don’t have anything to prove anymore. Everybody knows what I bring to the table when I’m healthy. All I need is the right opportunity and that’s all I’m focused on – getting better this summer, getting ready for this opportunity and taking full advantage of it. That’s all I care about.
When a player is dealing with injuries, everyone focuses on their physical health, but it seems like a lot of guys also struggle mentally when they aren’t able to play. There have been many players who have become depressed because their body is breaking down and they can’t do what they love. How have you managed to stay so positive and optimistic throughout this whole situation? Isaiah Thomas: I don’t want to compare my situation to anybody else’s, but the only thing I know how to do is keep going – no matter what. My sister passed away the day before a game and I still played. You know what I’m saying? All I know is to keep going. I really don’t know any other way. I’m going to keep pushing until I can’t anymore. That’s just how I’m built – it’s how I was born and raised. That’s never going to stop. Yeah, some days are tougher than others, especially when you’re going through rehab and going through injuries, you have your dark days and days when you feel like giving up. But at the end of the day, my ultimate goal is to be one of the best players to ever play this game and I still have so much time to prove that; I just need to get healthy. I do this for my kids and for my family, and they really inspire me to keep going when things get tough. I’m never going to quit. The easy thing to do is quit, but that’s not in me.
After the Washington Wizards selected Issuf Sanon in the second round of the 2018 draft, he spent a turbulent season stashed in Slovenia. His team, Petrol Olimpija, which competed in three leagues, played through a coaching carousel and the instability forced Sanon out of the rotation. Sanon said he collected a “DNP-CD” — short for did not play, coach’s decision — for the final four months. But at least he had “Prison Break” to keep him occupied. “It was a good one,” Sanon said about the show, which became his unexpected English tutor.
Although Sanon did not develop on the court in the way he would have expected, he improved as an English speaker in part due to the now-canceled FOX television series about a man who hatched a scheme to spring his innocent brother from prison. With a better command of the language, Sanon, the 19-year-old Ukrainian guard who was the 44th overall pick last summer, has returned to the Wizards as a more confident player.
In a recent interview with the Sun-Times, Parker, who signed a two-year, $40 million contract with the Bulls last summer before it all fell apart by December and he was eventually traded, was asked about being dealt from his hometown team to the Wizards. “It was like being in jail for a couple of months, and then when you’re free, you just want to be yourself again and catch up on lost times,’’ Parker said. “I didn’t have to deal with inconsistencies. I didn’t have to deal with mind games. I had coaches there that were very mature — they were players’ coaches. That’s one thing I really loved about them.’’
Boylen wasted little time relegating Parker to the bench. Privately, the organization was also concerned that Parker was poisoning the water, especially relating to Zach LaVine, so he was moved by February in the trade for Otto Porter. After the mopey forward was gone, the thought was his short time with the organization was in the rearview mirror. Parker, though, had other ideas. Considering he’s still an unsigned free agent, a glance in the mirror could do him some good.
The Washington Wizards announced today that they have acquired a 2020 second round pick from the Chicago Bulls as a part of a sign-and-trade deal in exchange for guard Tomas Satoransky. In addition to that pick (which will be the higher pick between Chicago or Memphis), the Bulls also agreed to give the Wizards the right to swap 2022 second round picks and have removed the protection on the 2023 second round pick owed to the Wizards as a result of a previous trade. “We wish Tomas and his family the very best as he starts a new chapter in his career,” said Wizards Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Tommy Sheppard. “He worked very hard with our coaching and development staff over his entire time with the Wizards and it showed with the improvement in his overall game. The picks acquired allow us to continue to build for the future.”
Davis Bertans: A huge thank you to the @spurs organization and family, fans, coaches, staff and front office. Took a chance in a 18 year old kid from Latvia drafting me 8 years ago. Thank you is not enough. I’ll miss you San Antonio! But on the same note I’m excited for my new chapter and joining the @WashWizards I always take change as a new challenge and I can promise that I’ll do my best to help the team get as many wins as possible this season. Let’s go #DCFamily