After two consecutive disappointing seasons, Ted Leonsis, Founder, Principal Partner, Chairman & CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment pulled the plug on General Manager Tommy Sheppard.
“Tommy Sheppard was relieved from his duties as General Manager and President of the Washington Wizards,” Leonsis said. “Failure to make the playoffs the last two seasons was very disappointing to our organization and our fans.”
This change of heart comes only a year after Leonsis gave Sheppard a contract extension early in the 2020 season when the Wizards started off with a red hot 10-3 record.
“Tommy has effectively improved our team each year of his tenure by following the plan he laid out to us as his vision when we hired him as general manager” said Ted Leonsis in a statement about the extension.
While that may be true, the move seemed very premature 13 games into the season and prior to that, the Wizards still had their struggles with Scott Brooks at the helm. Now that decision has essentially backfired.
With Sheppard out of the picture, that leaves many questions about the Wizards roster. The most important question surrounds the future of Kyle Kuzma.
With Kuzma hitting free agency, all signs pointed to the Wizards being an option in the courting process. Kuzma admitted this fact in his last media availability of the season. Will Kuzma want to come back to a team with so many unknowns?
We can be sure Sheppard was willing to bring Kyle back but will a new general manager see the value in offering Kuzma a big payday?
Deni Avdija is also up for a possible extension. As a Tommy Sheppard draft pick, Avdija’s future with the team is also in question.
Sheppard was also convinced that he should build the team around Bradley Beal. Even though Beal’s contract protects him from a trade, he may now decide it is time to go. Especially if Sheppard’s replacement doesn’t have the same vision about his role on the team.
The Wizards definitely shook the table with Sheppard’s firing. This offseason is about to get real interesting. Get your popcorn ready!