New Wizards president Michael Winger will have “carte blanche” to reshape the team’s roster, and owner Ted Leonsis isn’t opposed to a rebuild if that’s what Winger has in mind, a league source tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic.
Leonsis has been rumored to be opposed to tearing down the roster and building through the draft in the past, so this could be a pivot point for the franchise. It will be interesting to see which direction Winger goes.
Winger’s decision-making power won’t be limited to just the Wizards’ roster, as he will have “wide latitude” to reshape the organization’s infrastructure, including the front office and coaching staff, according to Robbins. The 43-year-old had been the Clippers’ GM since 2017.
Both Robbins and David Aldridge of The Athletic have heard from sources who say Winger will submit a five-year plan to Leonsis that will be updated after every year. Washington’s owner “wanted someone who’d take big swings, in a big market,” according to Aldridge’s source. Leonsis has assured Winger he’s willing to pay the luxury tax if necessary in the future, Aldridge adds.
Winger, who is a lawyer and has an analytics background, is known as a “big-picture” thinker who has extensive experience handling contract and trade negotiations, as well as navigating the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement and salary cap, per Robbins and Aldridge.
A source tells Aldridge that Winger isn’t afraid to voice his opinion, as he was one of the few Clippers executives who had reservations about the Paul George trade with the Thunder — which was tied to Kawhi Leonard signing with L.A. as a free agent — because Winger believed the Clippers were giving up too many first-round picks.
Leonsis also owns the NHL’s Washington Capitals, WNBA’s Mystics, and the Wizards’ G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go. Winger will oversee the Wizards, Mystics and Go-Go.
Although one report suggested Winger might not hire a No. 2 executive until after the draft and free agency, the team stated the search will be undertaken immediately, and Robbins’ sources inform him that Winger will look to hire someone within the next couple weeks. The new hire will likely have a “relatively traditional basketball background,” per Robbins.
Marc Stein reports (via Twitter) that Thunder vice president of basketball operations Will Dawkins is considered a “strong candidate” for the position. Dawkins worked with Winger for several years in Oklahoma City, Stein notes. Dawkins got his start as an intern with the Thunder in 2008 and has steadily worked his way up in the basketball operations department.
Aldridge believes hiring Winger is a step in the right direction, because it shows Leonsis isn’t satisfied with the status quo. The Wizards have posted five straight losing seasons and haven’t had a 50-win season since 1978/79.
16 thoughts on “Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis Not Opposed To Rebuild”
Let the selling begin. Just not to my Knicks.
Beal to New York for 3 1sts, Fournier and Randle. Take 2 awful contracts off the Knicks payroll and get a 2nd star to go with Brunson.
Why would you give up an All-Star in Julius Randle and 3 first round picks for Brad Beal??? Beal shoots like 33% from 3-point line. Never won a thing in Washington …. Why would adding him bring a different result to New York.
You’re correct but a better way to determine a reliable 3pt shooter is to ignore 3pt% and look at a min 10 3pt attempts per 100 possessions and at least a FT% of 80%. 3pt% is easily skewed and usually hides small samples. Look to the “undrafted trio” of the Miami Heat for these stats. Then look at other more heralded wing scorers. Ot will expand your basketball world.
Not sure wtf Bright Side is yapping about but Bradley Beal is a career.372 from deep and was .365 last season. Most of New York’s 1sts are unprotected so they’d most likely be a whole lotta seconds. Randle was horrid during the playoffs. He shot 37.4/27.8, he’s a ball stopper and has never been any good at defense.
Agreed. Julius Randle is a talent. The Knicks could have beaten the Heat. Just didn’t happen. Knicks are on the right track.
Let’s see. The last 4 seasons, Beal has played only about 50 games a year, shot UNDER 33% from 3 pt range (and since he’s not on MIA, I think that’s still a relevant stat), and made virtually no impact in the W/L column. As he moves through his 30’s, he’s set to make over 50 mm a year for the next 4 years. That’s 1 mm per game. I have no idea what his playoff numbers are, because he’s so rarely in them. I do know that in WSH’s last playoff appearance, WSH’s leader and go to guy was Westbrick.
FYI, Randle’s defense did a hard turn the past 3 seasons and has been quite good, and it was borderline great in 2020-21 and 2022-23. He also adds elite rebounding. His contract is NOT awful. You can say he’s awful (because he can be), but you can’t say that about his contract. He’s signed for 3 more years at about HALF of what Beal makes. He’s the only All-NBA player that makes that little. He rarely gets hurt, and is younger than Beal. As the cap skyrockets the next couple of years, his salary in his final seasons will look like that of a high quality backup.
A rebuild (of any kind) would be a huge departure from WSH’s mode of operation since at least the 1980’s. It’s possible that the current owner inherited that from the prior ownership.
The rebuild is at least 3 years too late.
Beal and Kuzma to Rockets for
Wall (if contract is not waived)
Kuzma is a FA and doesn’t need a SnT for the Rockets to acquire b/c they already have cap space.
So Beal for Smith, Green and Porter? I mean if the Rockets want to be a team stuck in purgatory and the West version of the Wiz, then yeah make the deal.
I want to know who is truly responsible for extending Bradley Beal. Sheppard or Leonsis? For clarification purposes, extending Beal was an incredibly stupid move.
Why rebuild when you can continue wallowing in mediocrity and irrelevance?
Well the guy that thought Kuzma, KP, and Beal was a core Big 3 is fired right? So clearly the thinking is to not invest more money in that core right?
Why not rebuild while you have pieces to move with some value? S&T for Kuzma. Expiring deals like KP. All Star player in Beal (expensive tho)
Hopefully the Wizards aren’t headed for a heartbreak
Since nothing was working the past 2 decades … rebuild is a must and a lot of patience. What’s even the point of hiring new pres of op, etc etc. if they’re not rebuilding.