Danny Ferry

Latest On Wizards’ GM Search

It has now been a week since Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly met with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis at Leonsis’ residence to discuss Washington’s top basketball operations position. As Candace Buckner of The Washington Post details, the Wizards didn’t make Connelly a job offer at that meeting, but did so two days later. Connelly passed, opting to remain in Denver and sending the Wizards’ search back to square one.

Since then, there have been no concrete updates on Washington’s search for Ernie Grunfeld‘s replacement, prompting Jerry Brewer of The Washington Post to write that the clock is ticking on the team’s “driftless” search.

David Aldridge of The Athletic makes a similar point, suggesting that the Wizards’ lack of action on Troy Weaver, Danny Ferry, and Tommy Sheppard – all of whom have interviewed twice for the job – signals that the club isn’t in love with any of those candidates. Still, with big offseason decisions looming, including one on Bradley Beal‘s future, it’s time for Leonsis to be decisive and either choose one of the Wizards’ existing candidates or go after a new one, Aldridge contends.

If the Wizards do add a new name or two to their list of potential targets, who might those new candidates to be? Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington observes that Warriors assistant GM Larry Harris and Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, whose teams are still alive in the playoffs, could be on the Wizards’ radar.

Harris interviewed for the Pelicans’ top front office job before David Griffin landed it, and the outside consultant who worked with New Orleans, Mike Forde, has also assisted the Wizards in their search, so he could recommend Harris to Washington too, Standig notes. As for Ujiri, while the Wizards were rumored to have interest, a source tells Standig that expectations of high salary demands have thus far discouraged Washington from seriously pursuing that possibility.

Standig identifies one more potential target for the Wizards, writing that multiple sources have said the team has interest in Trail Blazers head of basketball operations Neil Olshey. Washington’s interest in Olshey dates back several weeks, but as of Wednesday the club had yet to ask Portland permission to talk to him, according to Standig.

While Olshey is under contract for two more years, sources believe he’d be open to considering other options, per Standig. Damian Lillard‘s super-max eligibility and Portland’s uncertain ownership situation could be factors working in the Wizards’ favor if they do make a run at Olshey.

[UPDATE: Olshey signs extension with Trail Blazers]

Wizards Meeting With Nuggets’ Tim Connelly

9:32am: Connelly will meet today with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and advisor Mike Forde, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. As Buckner explains, there has been a belief that Connelly didn’t want to interview for the job like a traditional applicant would, which is a signal that this meeting is serious.

Buckner adds (via Twitter) that Washington would likely have to offer Connelly $4MM+ annually over five years to get him to leave Denver.

7:32am: The Wizards have requested and received permission to meet with Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly to discuss their own head of basketball operations vacancy, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. League sources tell Wojnarowski that the two sides could meet as soon as Friday.

NBA teams have the right to deny their executives permission to interview for a job with a rival club, particularly if it would be perceived as a lateral move. However, as Wojnarowski explains, Connelly has “deep ties to the Mid-Atlantic region and some extenuating family considerations,” so the Nuggets won’t stop him from exploring the opportunity. The Baltimore native likely wouldn’t have considered overtures from any team besides the Wizards, Woj notes.

The Nuggets are confident in the ability of general manager Arturas Karnisovas to assume control of their basketball operations if Connelly does decide to leave Denver, sources tell Wojnarowski. Connelly was initially elevated to his position after Masai Ujiri left for Toronto under similar circumstances, so the Nuggets have been in this position before.

It’s possible that draft-pick compensation could be involved if the Wizards hire Connelly away from the Nuggets, as Fred Katz of The Athletic points out.

The Wizards, who have been in the market for a new head of basketball operations since dismissing Ernie Grunfeld before the end of the regular season, will likely have to offer a substantial raise to lure Connelly away from Denver, as Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link) and Katz observe. He’s believed to be earning a salary in the range of $2MM per year with the Nuggets.

While the Wizards have been conducting their search for Grunfeld’s replacement, Tommy Sheppard has been running the front office on an interim basis. Sheppard is under consideration for the permanent job, as are Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver and veteran executive Danny Ferry. Both Weaver and Ferry met with the Wizards for second interviews, according to reports from Katz and Shams Charania at The Athletic and Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Dolan, Wizards, Hawks Workouts

Sixers guard Ben Simmons has been assessed a Flagrant One foul and fined $20K for striking Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry in the groin on Thursday, according to a tweet from the league’s PR department. The incident occurred during the second quarter of Game 3, which Philadelphia won 116-95. Simmons, who had 10 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in the game, was whistled for three common fouls.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Shareholders of Madison Square Garden Company have filed a suit against Knicks owner James Dolan, its executive chairman and CEO, for being grossly overpaid, Pitchfork.com reports. Over the last three fiscal years, MSG has paid Dolan $75.6MM, according to company filings. MSG’s peer companies have paid their CEOs an average of $17MM over the same period, according to the lawsuit. The filing also claims that Dolan “works at MSG only part time,” with much of his focus going toward touring and recording for his band JD & the Straight Shot. MSG has labelled the lawsuit “nothing more than corporate harassment.”
  • Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard are potential candidates, along with Danny Ferry, for Washington’s top executive post, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said in a Wizards Talk Podcast relayed by NBC Sports Washington’s Caroline Brandt. Ferry, who most recently was interim GM with the Pelicans, interviewed for the job this week. Windhorst also indicated there’s at least one mystery candidate the Wizards will pursue. “There may be another name or two that I’m not willing to say just yet who may be on the Wizards’ list,” Windhorst said.
  • The Hawks brought in six players for pre-draft workouts on Friday, according to a team press release. Forward/center Nathan Knight of William & Mary, forwards Anthony Lamb (Vermont), Kouat Noi (TCU) and Killian Tillie (Gonzaga) and guards Andrew Nembhard (Florida) and D’Marcus Simonds (Georgia State) participated in the workout. Tillie is the highest-ranked prospect in the group, currently rated No. 82 overall by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Latest On Wizards’ Front Office Search

After the Wizards fired Ernie Grunfeld with eight days left in the regular season, updates on their search for a new head of basketball operations were few and far between for the next several weeks. However, that changed this week.

According to various reports, three candidates to replace Grunfeld were in Washington to interview with the Wizards on Tuesday. According to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (via Twitter), those candidates apparently met with the team one after another. They are as follows:

  • Danny Ferry: Formerly the GM of the Cavaliers and the Hawks, Ferry saw his time in Atlanta come to an end after he read an offensive comment from a scouting report on Luol Deng out loud during a conference call. Ferry is a Maryland native, and his father Bob Ferry was the Washington Bullets’ GM for much of the 1970s and ’80s. Most recently, Danny served as the Pelicans’ interim GM following Dell Demps‘ ouster.
  • Gersson Rosas: A longtime Rockets executive, Rosas currently serves as the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations. He has drawn interest from multiple teams with front office openings this spring, including the Pelicans and Timberwolves — he remains in the running for the Minnesota job.
  • Troy Weaver: The VP of basketball operations for the Thunder, Weaver was linked to the Pistons’ head of basketball operations position in 2018, and to Kings and Hawks jobs in 2017. Interestingly, Weaver was mentioned as a potential candidate to replace Grunfeld way back in 2016.

Current Wizards interim general manager Tommy Sheppard is also a contender to claim the permanent job, and according to both Buckner and Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is still very much on the Wizards’ radar.

Named a top candidate to run the Wizards’ front office in the wake of Grunfeld’s departure, Connelly was raised in Baltimore, Maryland and previously worked for the club. Sources tell Standig that personal considerations make the idea of returning to D.C. attractive for Connelly, with one source describing the position as Connelly’s “dream job.” However, given Denver’s ongoing success, it’s not clear if he’d want to leave the Nuggets at this time.

[RELATED: 2019 NBA Front Office Shakeup Tracker]

Finally, Standig provides one more interesting tidbit, citing sources who say that Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is “intrigued by the idea of moving to Washington.” Ujiri’s wife is from the D.C. area and the city would provide him with a larger platform for his “Basketball Without Borders” program, Standig notes.

Still, a league source tells NBC Sports Washington that Toronto is unlikely to grant rival teams permission to interview Ujiri.

Wizards Interviewing Ferry, Rosas For Front Office Job

Former Pelicans interim GM Danny Ferry and current Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas will be the first candidate to meet with the Wizards about the team’s top front office job. According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, Rosas is currently in Washington to interview with the club, while Candace Buckner of The Washington Post tweets that Ferry met with the Wizards today.

Rosas has been a popular target in recent years for teams with openings at the top of their basketball operations departments, having already been linked to the Pelicans’ and Timberwolves’ jobs this spring. New Orleans went with David Griffin, but a source tells Katz that Rosas is still very much in the mix for Minnesota’s president of basketball operations position.

A longtime member of one of the NBA’s most analytically driven front offices, Rosas could be a good fit for the Wizards. As Katz points out, owner Ted Leonsis has indicated that he’d prefer Ernie Grunfeld‘s replacement to place an emphasis on data and analytics.

As for Ferry, he has previous experience running a front office in Cleveland and Atlanta, and re-assumed that role in New Orleans after Dell Demps‘ ouster during the 2018/19 season.

According to Katz, Mike Forde, an outside consultant, is helping the Wizards with their search after previously assisting the Pelicans. Rosas and Perry were both part of the Pelicans’ process, and other executives that showed up on New Orleans’ list – such as Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon and Warriors assistant GM Larry Harris – could also be of interest to the Wizards.

Pelicans Hire David Griffin As Head Of Basketball Operations

APRIL 17: The Pelicans have made it official, announcing in a press release that Griffin is their new executive vice president of basketball operations.

“We are very pleased to welcome David and his wife, Meredith, to the New Orleans Pelicans,” Pelicans owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “After a comprehensive interview process, which included several top candidates from across the NBA, David’s strong leadership skills, acumen and vision stood out as the best fit for our organization to achieve our goal of building a team that will compete for championships. I am proud of the process that we went through in our search and I look forward to working with David and providing all of the resources he needs to bring an NBA championship to our city.”

APRIL 12: The Pelicans are finalizing a deal with veteran NBA executive David Griffin that will make him the team’s new head of basketball operations, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the two sides have reached an agreement in principle.

The Pelicans and Griffin are still determining what his official title will be, but he’ll control the club’s basketball operations, tweets Wojnarowski. Griffin’s title will likely be executive VP of basketball operations, Woj adds (via Twitter).

Having dismissed general manager Dell Demps during the season, the Pelicans turned to advisor Danny Ferry to assume GM duties on an interim basis, but have recently conducted a full-fledged search for a permanent head of basketball operations.

Ferry was considered a candidate during that process, but recently withdrew from consideration, citing concerns about the timing of moving his family to New Orleans on a full-time basis, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

The Pelicans also considered Warriors assistant GM Larry Harris, Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon, Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard, but will go with Griffin, who has the most high-level experience in the group.

Griffin served as the general manager in Cleveland from February of 2014 up until the summer of 2017, overseeing the return of LeBron James in 2014 and the Cavaliers’ championship-winning roster in 2016.

Although the Cavs got stuck with some player-friendly contracts on their cap during Griffin’s tenure, he was well-regarded overall as an executive, and may have stuck around longer if he and owner Dan Gilbert could have agreed to contract terms in 2017. Griffin was said to be seeking a raise and a promotion, and was ultimately replaced by Koby Altman.

Griffin will face a new challenge in New Orleans, as he’ll now be responsible for resolving Anthony Davis‘ trade request. It’s widely believed that Davis, who is eligible for the super-max this summer and is entering the final year of his current contract, has played his last game for the Pelicans. It will be up to Griffin to find the best deal possible for the star center.

During his days as the Pelicans’ general manager, Demps reported to team president Mickey Loomis, the general manager of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. However, the club has indicated it intends to separate the basketball and football operations to a greater extent going forward, so Griffin is expected to report directly to owner Gayle Benson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wizards Notes: Robinson, GM Search, Satoransky, Green

The incident that led to Devin Robinson‘s dismissal from the Wizards was a fight with Jalen Mills of the Philadelphia Eagles outside a Washington, D.C., nightclub early this morning, reports Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The Wizards issued a statement after the altercation saying they won’t extend a qualifying offer to the two-way player for next season.

Robinson and Mills were both arrested after the fight, which D.C. police say began with a verbal altercation. They wound up trading punches outside the Opera Ultra Lounge at 2:56am, resulting in Robinson being taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The 24-year-old recently returned from a hip injury that sidelined him for two months. He appeared in seven NBA games this season and one last year. Robinson’s agent refused to comment on the incident.

There’s more Wizards news to pass along:

  • David Griffin’s decision to join the Pelicans removes the potential top candidate in Washington’s search for a new GM, according to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. Losing out on Griffin may improve the chances that senior VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard will be promoted to the GM’s role, but the Wizards won’t be in a hurry to make a move. Owner Ted Leonsis said he plans to reflect on the situation for about three weeks while consulting with a search firm.
  • Danny Ferry, who served as interim GM in New Orleans and is the son of former Bullets GM Bob Ferry, has been mentioned as a possibility for the Wizards, along with Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon, who was also a candidate for the Pelicans’ job. Nuggets president Tim Connelly, Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver and Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren may also receive consideration, but Standig doesn’t believe Zarren is likely to leave Boston.
  • No matter what happens with restricted free agent Tomas Satoransky, he’s sure of which position he wants to play, Standig relays in a separate story“I’m a point guard. I’m definitely a point guard. I will never be agreeing with someone that tells me otherwise,” he said. That’s where the Wizards used him after John Wall‘s season-ending injury and what his role projects to be if he returns to Washington with Wall possibly sidelined for all of next year. Standig states that management approached Satoransky about a long-term deal at mid-season, but he and his representatives preferred to test the free agent waters.
  • Jeff Green, who is headed for unrestricted free agency after signing a one-year deal last summer, enjoyed the chance to play in his hometown, he says in a video interview tweeted by the team.

Southeast Rumors: Hornets’ Plans, Walker, Ferry, Skyhawks

Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak said the team will not be a major player in the free agent market, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bismack Biyombo and Marvin Williams holding player options on their contracts for next season totaling $45MM, the Hornets likely won’t have much cap space to utilize. Upgrades will be sought mainly through trades, according to an Associated Press report. Kupchak’s main goal this offseason is to re-sign unrestricted free agent Kemba Walker. “I think this is a place that he wants to be and we’ll do everything that we can to bring him back here,” Kupchak said.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Charlotte Observer editorial board took the unusual step of urging the franchise to let Walker seek greener pastures. Opining that “a special player should get the opportunity to find something truly special someplace else,” the board believes it may be in the franchise’s best interest to start over, go into tank mode and gain the financial flexibility required to bring the city a winning team.
  • Danny Ferry, who pulled himself out of consideration to run the Pelicans’ front office, is very interested in the Wizards’ top front office job, Gery Woelfel of Woelfelspressbox hears (Twitter link). Ferry served as the interim GM with New Orleans after Dell Demps was fired just after the February trade deadline. Washington fired longtime president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld last week.
  • Dan Dial has been named president of the Hawks’ newly-relocated G League team, the College Park Skyhawks, according to a team press release. Dial spent the last seven years as president of baseball’s River City Rascals in the Frontier League. The G League team was previously called the BayHawks and located in Erie, Pa.

Southwest Notes: Ferry, D’Antoni, Van Exel, Mavs

Danny Ferry is meeting with the Pelicans today about the team’s permanent general manager position, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Ferry, who has been serving as the franchise’s interim GM since Dell Demps was dismissed, will have the final interview for New Orleans, according to Wojnarowski.

The Pelicans have already interviewed several candidates, including former Cavs GM David Griffin, Warriors assistant GM Larry Harris, Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon, Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, who had been hospitalized since Friday, has shown improvement and was released today, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. However, he will not coach the team tonight.
  • Grizzlies assistant coach Nick Van Exel has interest in the University of Cincinnati coaching gig, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter). Van Exel, who played at the university, will be looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Grizzlies assistant Jerry Stackhouse, who transitioned from Memphis’ bench to Vanderbilt’s head coaching job last week.
  • Sean Deveney of Sporting News has previewed the offseason for a pair of Southwest teams this week, exploring what lies ahead for the Pelicans and for the Mavericks.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Latest On Pelicans’ GM Search

The Pelicans continue to make progress in their search for a new general manager, according to Will Guillory of The Athletic, who reported this morning (via Twitter) that the team was starting to conduct in-person interviews. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter), New Orleans interviewed former Cavaliers GM David Griffin today.

Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune (Twitter link) has confirmed that, in addition to Griffin, the following candidates are on the team’s list:

  • Interim GM Danny Ferry
  • Warriors assistant GM Larry Harris
  • Nets assistant GM Trajan Langdon
  • Rockets VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas
  • Wizards interim GM Tommy Sheppard

Meanwhile, while his name doesn’t show up on Duncan’s list and hadn’t been previously reported, Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton is also in the mix for the GM job in New Orleans, tweets Jabari Young of The Athletic.

It’s not clear whether all of those candidates reciprocate New Orleans’ interest, or if they’ll all interview with the team. Several of them are believed to be options for some of the other clubs around the NBA who are seeking new heads of basketball operations, including the Wizards, so the Pelicans won’t necessarily be able to hire their top choice.

Still, it appears as if the franchise is moving quickly in the hopes of installing a permanent head of basketball operations sooner rather than later. A big offseason looms for the Pelicans, as Anthony Davis‘ future will almost certainly be decided in the coming months.