Beal says Leonsis is serious about change after 'wasted' year

Ben Krimmel
May 04, 2019 - 1:12 pm
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Is no news good news?

It has been relatively quiet in the weeks that followed the end of the Washington Wizards embarrassing 2018-19 season. And after a 32-50 year filled with one awful moment after the next awful moment, a period of being out of sight, out of mind may be good. 

However, the organization still needs to hire a new general manager after firing their long-time president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld. And whoever is hired must deal with the poisoned chalice that is John Wall's massive contract as his four-year, $170 million deal is set to begin.

Guard Bradley Beal, who has been "staying in the loop" with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis "as much as possible," told NBC Sports Washington Friday the owner has an appetite for change.

“He’s definitely on thin ice with everybody,” Beal said of Leonsis. “He wants change and he wants it better.”

“For (Leonsis) to go through the process of hiring the search team, I think that in it of itself speaks to the seriousness behind it,” Beal said. “At the end of the day, it’s his team. He’s going to run the team as he says. All we can do is follow. I can just sense he wants a better environment.”

But around the DMV, fans are not too optimistic about the Wizards standing.

While admitting this is scary, Beal sees this moment of uncertainty as an opportunity to get things right. 

“At the same time, the bright side is we have an opportunity to build up a team now,” Beal told NBC Sports Washington. “It’s scary to think we have nine free agents and everything like that, but we still have a great opportunity to be able to do something big this summer, make some moves and get some guys in here and try to turn this thing around.”

Large-scale changes won't happen in Washington overnight, but ownership's appetite for change is big itself. After sticking with the familiar for many years of mediocrity, Leonsis' firing of Grunfeld was a much-needed signal to the fan base and the basketball world that he is ready to shake-up a stagnant organization.

Unfortunately for Beal and the Wizards, Leonsis' feet dragging has already set them back. Beal is a year older with many more unnecessary miles on his legs and he acknowledged on Friday "We kind of wasted a year" in 2018-19. Meanwhile, the organization has few assets. 

And Leonsis, who has railed against tanking in the past, may not be committed to a full-scale rebuild of the team. At this juncture, ownership mandated half-measures may keep the franchise in a familiar rut.

Beal may be the one saying all the right things right now, but he may end up being the shipped out of Washington. A sacrifice of talent so the organization can finally begin to build a proper competitor for the future.

“In this business, anything is possible, anything can happen. We can get a new guy in here who has a totally different agenda,” Beal said Friday. “You never know. Just have to play it is you go and accept the fact that it’s a business, and be prepared for any situation.”

In this time of uncertainty, anything can happen.

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