The Wizards gave Tommy Sheppard a “trial run” through the draft and free agency before deciding to promote him to general manager, a source tells Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards have reportedly settled on Sheppard to run the team, more than three months after Ernie Grunfeld was dismissed in early April. That came after a failed attempt to pry Tim Connelly away from the Nuggets and a reported effort to entice the Raptors‘ Masai Ujiri.
Sheppard took steps this summer to clear up a disastrous cap situation. He allowed Tomas Satoransky, Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker to leave in free agency, even though he was instrumental in bringing all three to Washington. He also traded Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies.
Sheppard prepared written proposals for the ownership group, outlining his plans for a younger, cheaper and more energetic roster. He spearheaded an organizational effort to expand the team’s international presence by drafting Rui Hachimura and making trades that brought in Davis Bertans, Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga. Owner Ted Leonsis was reportedly impressed with how easily the team was able to re-sign Thomas Bryant, one of his favorite players.
There’s more tonight from Washington, D.C.:
- Sheppard’s official move to GM is expected to be announced this week, along with significant changes in how the organization operates, Hughes adds in the same story. The Wizards plan to triple their investment in their analytics department and will expand scouting with a fresh emphasis on African and Latin American nations.
- There are “a long list of clues” that Bradley Beal will turn down a three-year, $111MM extension when he becomes eligible on July 26, Hughes continues. Beal’s reasons may be as simple as holding out for a better deal, and he could put himself in position for a super-max offer by earning All-NBA honors during the upcoming season. Regardless, it appears to be the first major test for Sheppard once he’s officially in his new position.
- The Wizards added to their coaching staff by hiring Michael Longabardi away from the Cavaliers, Hughes tweets. A defensive specialist, the 46-year-old has been part of two title-winning teams.