JUNKIES: Bring back Buckhantz

Ben Krimmel
June 28, 2019 - 3:48 pm

All around the Washington Wizards, there are changes and new faces. But is all of it for the good?

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All signs are pointing to NBC Sports Washington having two new faces for their broadcast of Wizards games next season after Kara Lawson, who replaced longtime analyst Phil Chenier at the start of the 2017-18 season, resigned her position this week to accept a coaching job on Brad Stevens' staff with the Boston Celtics. In March, news emerged that longtime play-by-play announcer Steve Buckhantz would not be returning to the broadcast

However, Buckhantz's future is still up in the air.

In an interview with The Athletic published prior to the announcement of Lawson's departure, Buckhantz said his attorney reached out to NBC Sports Washington a couple of times to determine if the door for a return was still open the response was that no decision had been made and Buckhantz himself remains unsure of what is happening.

"Basically, I haven’t heard anything," he said. "The only thing I know is that there’d be some guys coming up to audition, a couple of them are good friends of mine, and I haven’t heard anything since then. I haven’t heard anything from the company in regards to any of those auditions.”

After the decision was announced in March, NBC Sports Washington general manager Damon Phillips said it was his decision. 

“I think it’s important that you know, and that fans know, that as the GM it’s really my responsibility to make sure we have the right talent. These decisions, they start and they end with me. We are performing our due diligence and exploring all options. The key is that the door is not closed on Steve’s return, and there’s a possibility he could return in his role,” Phillips said.

The decision to dismiss Buckhantz still confused The Sports Junkies.

"I have yet to meet a person that said, 'Yeah, that Buckhantz sucks, we gotta move on from him,''' Eric Bickel said Friday. "There's not one person in town that thinks that. And yet it seems to be on the agenda." 

"How 'bout we do the nostalgia bit and just let bygones be bygones and get Buck and Phil just put 'em back together?" John Auville asked. "Why don't we do that? OK." 

Bickel responded, "That would only be universally beloved. Only everyone would like it."

“It’s been weird,” Buckhantz told The Athletic. “I’ve just kind of been watching everything from afar, and it just feels a little weird to think that after 22 years since 1997 I may not go to training camp, I may not be involved in anything the Wizards do, I may not talk to the players, or you know, have meetings or any of that.

“It just feels really, really strange,” Buckhantz said.

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