New Wizards president Michael Winger loves the idea of building a foundation and he’s eager to use the lessons he learned during his time with the Cavaliers, Thunder and Clippers, writes Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. Winger is taking on one of the NBA’s biggest challenges in the Wizards, who haven’t posted a 50-win season in 44 years. He’s inheriting a team that’s desperately in need of a makeover after missing the play-in tournament, but he welcomes that opportunity.
“I wouldn’t want a ready-made organization,” he said. “That’s not very exciting. It’s going to be a matter of establishing a culture and creating an identity that we can latch onto and carry into the next half-decade. Sometimes, change for the sake of change accelerates progress.”
Winger had been with Los Angeles since 2017 and he helped team president Lawrence Frank oversee the transition from the Chris Paul–Blake Griffin era to the new-look Clippers built around Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Winger comes highly recommended as he looks to perform a similar roster remake in Washington.
“One thing that separates Michael from others is his ability to be a couple steps ahead,” Frank said. “It’s one thing to know what you’re trying to get accomplished. But Michael can show you how the pieces on the board need to move to get it done, and how one move can set up the next. That’s invaluable.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak has a talent for finding useful players late in the draft, and he’ll have an opportunity again this year as Charlotte holds five selections, per Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. They Hornets landed the second slot in the lottery, and they control picks No. 27, 34, 39 and 41 as well. Charlotte has been holding workouts with a lot of players projected to go in that range, including Saturday’s session with Serbian forward Nikola Djurisic. “So at the combine, I hit some shots. I was hitting shots — five in a row, six in a row, which I think the scouts from the clubs can see me shoot, differently from in the game or practice,” Djurisic said. They could see me shoot. But I’m not worried about the 3-point shot because it will come with hard work. But they could see I’m athletic.”
- Bryan Bailey, Antonio Lang, Mike Brey and Sanjay Lumpkin will be announced as members of Quin Snyder‘s coaching staff with the Hawks, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Jeff Watkinson and Steven Klei will be retained from the current staff, sources tell Carchia.
- The Magic have a team option on Goga Bitadze for the 2023/24 season, and Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel suggests that the aggressive rebounding he displayed during his brief time in Orlando will make them consider picking it up. Bitadze averaged 5.8 points and 5.2 rebounds after signing with the Magic in February, and he was the team’s primary backup center by the end of the season.