Troy Weaver

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.

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.

And-Ones: Wizards, Thompson, Parsons, Grizzlies

The Wizards are conducting several interviews for their head of basketball operations opening this week. Former Hawks GM Danny Ferry met with the team on Tuesday and current Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is also in town for his meeting, as we relayed earlier today.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) reports that Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver was in D.C. as well to interview for the position. Interim GM Tommy Sheppard is also under consideration.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Marc Stein of the New York Times believes Klay Thompson is “100 percent staying put with the Warriors and will not consider external suitors,” as he writes in his latest newsletter. Thompson will be a free agent at the end of the season.
  • Chandler Parsons had some encouraging stretches for the Grizzlies and he hopes to build on that progress, as David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal passes along. “I’m going to continue to do all the right things this summer and put myself in the best situation to play a lot of games next year,” Parsons said. “Where that will be, I don’t know. You’ve got to ask the guys upstairs. But I’m fully committed to the team and coming back, if that’s what it’s going to be.”
  • Parsons has one year left on his four-year, $94MM deal and Cobb (same piece) wonders if the team will be able to trade the forward. The scribe believes the Grizzlies would have to attach an asset to Parsons in order to extract any value from a trade despite Parsons showing progress this season.

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.

Wizards Notes: GM Search, Wall, Ariza

The Wizards will be vying this spring with the Suns, Pelicans, and possibly the Timberwolves for general manager candidates. And while Washington may not have the promising cap outlook or collection of young players out of those teams, it still may be considered the best opportunity for GM hopefuls, writes Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.

“We really care about two things: Is the boss invested in his team, and will he prove it by spending the money we ask him to spend?” one longtime executive said to Golliver. “(Wizards owner) Ted (Leonsis) is two-for-two. He won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals. He paid John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Ian Mahinmi. He paid Andray Blatche and then paid him to go away. What more could you want?”

Leonsis says there’s no list of candidates yet to replace former president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld, but league executives tell Golliver that the search figures to include “past and present top decision-makers, as well as up-and-coming executives.” Besides some of the names already mentioned as candidates, Golliver identifies Thunder vice president Troy Weaver and Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik as a couple more options for the Wizards.

Here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Firing Grunfeld was the right move, but the Wizards did it for the wrong reasons, contends Tom Ziller of SBNation.com. In a separate article for The Washington Post, Golliver writes that a number of Grunfeld’s personnel missteps continue to loom large over the franchise.
  • While head coach Scott Brooks is expected to return for the 2019/20 season, he acknowledges that it could be a difficult year of transition for the Wizards. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for the next general manger to come in and shape the team,” Brooks said, per Lisa Redmond of NBC Sports Washington. “… We have five players and plus a first-round pick coming up and so it’s going to be a very important summer with John (Wall) being out. You know, we have to be very creative. Not going to make an excuse that it’s going to be a tough year, but it’s going to be a challenging year.”
  • Speaking of Wall, even though his Achilles injury is bad news for the Wizards, there’s a possible silver lining, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. As Buckner outlines, the franchise will only be on the hook for 20% of Wall’s 2019/20 salary until he returns to the court, with insurance picking up the other 80%. Of course, Wall’s full super-max salary (projected to be worth $37.8MM) will still count against the cap.
  • Wizards forward Trevor Ariza is likely done for the season due to his groin injury, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The team has previously expressed interest in retaining Ariza – an unrestricted free agent this summer – beyond this season, but it’s not clear how the front office shakeup will affect the veteran.

Pistons Notes: Bower, GM Search, Draft Workouts

Earlier today, the Pistons made their first major hire since Stan Van Gundy‘s departure, finalizing a three-year agreement that makes former Grizzlies executive Ed Stefanski a senior advisor in Detroit. As we relayed in that story, Stefanski will have a major role in hiring a new GM and head coach, but before he does that, he intends to assess the Pistons’ current front office group, led by general manager Jeff Bower.

According to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter links), Stefanski – who knows Bower well – plans to meet with the GM and other members of the club’s front office on Tuesday.

“I’m going to spend a lot of time with Jeff Bower,” Stefanski said, per Ellis. “I respect him and I want to talk to him and I want to find out what he thinks of the situation there. Obviously he’s been there for four years and he’s been right at the pulse of everything.”

As we wait to hear how that meeting goes, let’s round up a few more Pistons-related notes…

  • The Pistons are in the market for a young, rising executive for their GM job, according to Ellis, who writes that the ideal candidate would become “the face of the franchise for a decade.” Ellis reports that the Pistons would “love” to explore hiring Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver, but Weaver isn’t expected to be available.
  • While they’ll have plenty of competition, the Pistons figure to be in the market for an athletic, 3-and-D-type wing with the No. 42 pick in this year’s draft, says Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. That type of player is a hot commodity in today’s NBA, so the pickings may be slim for Detroit by the middle of the second round.
  • As Rod Beard of The Detroit News relays (via Twitter), the Pistons brought in six prospects for workouts today, auditioning Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure), Bogdan Bliznyuk (Eastern Washington), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), Kelan Martin (Butler), Malik Pope (San Diego State), and Andrew Rowsey (Marquette).

Kings Seek VP Of Basketball Ops; Otis Smith Withdraws

JULY 28, 2:05pm: Otis Smith has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Kings’ job, a source tells Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). According to Turner, Smith met with the club twice this month, and still has interest in a front office role, but determined that Sacramento wasn’t the right fit for him.

JULY 26, 2:39pm: In the wake of Scott Perry‘s departure for the Knicks, the Kings are seeking a new vice president of basketball operations to report to Vlade Divac in their front office. And according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, team officials have met with former Magic general manager Otis Smith to discuss the job.

Smith, who appeared in 375 NBA games as a player between 1986 and 1992, transitioned into a front office role after his playing career ended, and eventually became the GM in Orlando in 2006. He held that position for six years, and has since worked out as a G League head coach and an NBA assistant with the Pistons.

Perry was believed to have played a major role in the Kings’ offseason this year after joining the franchise in April, following his dismissal from Orlando’s front office. Perry’s reputation around the NBA – and his solid work in Sacramento – attracted the attention of the Knicks, who sent cash and a second-round pick to the Kings in exchange for the right to hire Perry as their new GM.

With Perry out of the picture, the Kings had been expected to hire a new VP of basketball ops. In addition to Smith, Milt Newton and Troy Weaver were believed to be candidates, but they’re no longer in play, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. However, Jones adds (via Twitter) that former Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester is worth keeping an eye on.

Hawks Eyeing Troy Weaver For Front Office Job?

With top decision-makers Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox transitioning to new roles this offseason, the Hawks are searching for a new basketball executive to head their front office, and may be eyeing a Thunder executive. League sources tell Marc Stein (Twitter link) that OKC vice president and assistant GM Troy Weaver is “poised to emerge” as a top candidate for Atlanta.

Weaver, who is a key voice in the Thunder’s front office under Sam Presti, has been viewed for some time as a future general manager candidate. Earlier this year, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton identified Weaver as one of seven front-office “prospects” to watch.

As Pelton detailed at the time, Weaver isn’t necessarily a salary cap expert, but he’s an “obsessive student” of the NBA’s history and has a “discerning eye for raw basketball talent.” According to Pelton, people who have worked with Weaver view him as a collaborative co-worker who could be trusted to hire an outstanding and balanced staff.

Of course, it’s not clear yet how much latitude the Hawks’ new basketball operations head will be given to restructure the front office and bring in new people. While Budenholzer and Wilcox have been re-assigned, Budenholzer is still expected to have a voice in personnel decisions, and Atlanta hasn’t technically fired anyone at this point. It remains to be seen whether execs like senior advisor Rick Sund or assistant GMs Michael Blackstone and Jeff Peterson will remain with the Hawks under new leadership.

In addition to Weaver, candidates for the Hawks’ top front office job reportedly include David Griffin and Joe Dumars. More names could be added to that list in the coming days or weeks.

Reports Conflict On Ernie Grunfeld’s Job Security

Conflicting reports have emerged about the job security of Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, as two people with knowledge of the situation told J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic recently that his position is safe while league sources told Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops that Grunfeld is no lock to return. The 60-year-old executive is under contract through next season, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post revealed this week, but people around the league have for the past few months brought up Danny Ferry‘s name as a possible replacement, according to Scotto. Thunder assistant GM Troy Weaver has also drawn mention as a potential candidate, Scotto writes.

Coach Randy Wittman‘s salary for next season is only partially guaranteed, and Scotto writes that he’s “not expected” to return. However, it doesn’t appear as though the team has made any final decision.

The Wizards are on the brink of elimination from playoff contention, three and a half games back of the eighth-place Pistons with four to play. They’re also in line to relinquish their first-round pick to the Suns as part of the Markieff Morris trade. Washington has long planned to recruit Kevin Durant, a D.C. native, in the summer ahead, but the team’s losing season has dimmed its hopes of a homecoming for the former MVP, as Scotto notes. The uncertainty surrounding the future of several soon-to-be free agents on the Wizards is one of several contributing factors to the team’s slippage this year, Castillo posits.

Ferry’s name has emerged frequently in recent months following the buyout deal that ended his tenure as GM of the Hawks, as he’s reportedly been a candidate for GM vacancies with the Nets and Sixers, in spite of the controversy regarding the racially charged remarks he read from a scouting report in 2014. Weaver has been with the Thunder since the 2008/09 season, helping build Oklahoma City into a perennial title contender.

Grunfeld is one of the NBA’s longest tenured executives, having run the Wizards front office since the 2003/04 season. Every player on the team was acquired under his watch.