Ted Leonsis Promises Change as Washington Wizards Enter New Era

Washington Wizards (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) /

A new era has begun for the Washington Wizards: the post-Ernie Grunfeld era. But removing Grunfeld was only step one. So what’s next…

For the first time as owner of the Washington Wizards, Ted Leonsis will enter next season without Ernie Grunfeld. Yesterday, the long-tenured and oft-criticized president was relieved of his duties, welcoming in a new era of hope for Wizards fans who have stewed in Grunfeld-created misery for years.

Since the yesterday’s announcement, Leonsis has been forthright with the media and fans about what’s next for the Wizards.

Things are going to change in Washington, even if he’s not quite sure what will change or how they will change. But they’ll change. And just about everything is up for consideration.

Leonsis explained more on his personal blog, Ted’s Take.

"I plan to take time to better understand our organization’s strengths and possibilities.  We will be running a process to review our structure, roles and responsibilities, and think through how we can build an organization for the next chapter of the NBA demands."

According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, Leonsis says the team is in ‘deep exploration’ when it comes to their future strategy. The Washington Posts’ Candace Buckner adds that Leonsis will be “open-minded” moving forward, and admits that maybe he’s been part of the problem in recent years.

To his credit, Leonsis has taken full responsibility for what he acknowledges was a frustrating failure of a season. Plus, he seems committed to finding proven solutions to the team’s current problems (of which there are many).

Oh, and he might finally be coming around on the idea that a long-term vision can breed more lasting success than quick fixes.

"We are looking to hire the right person and not just find a quick solution.  Organizational stability is highly valued here – so finding a long-term solution as our leader is our primary goal."

While organizational stability may have been present during Ernie’s 16(!!) seasons, continuity and stability on the court was not.

The Grunfeld era was littered with examples of poorly developed draft picks. And a good number of the team’s other picks were traded away for ailing veterans. Sometimes grabbing the savvy vet paid off (Paul Pierce, Trevor Ariza part 1) but usually it didn’t, and it cost the Wizards young talent time and time again.

Whoever Leonsis decides to bring in to replace Grunfeld will need to totally shift the way this organization thinks about team-building. Emphasis needs to be put back on draft picks and developing young players, including  the two they have right now in Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown Jr.

Next. Ernie Grunfeld is No Longer President of the Washington Wizards. dark

Leonsis’ comments about proven success and NBA “best-practicing” make it seem like the Wizards will be going after a more seasoned candidate rather an unproven upstart.

At least whoever it is won’t be worse than what Washington’s had for the past decade and a half…right?!