Rouhier: Leonsis' anti-tanking talk was 'irresponsible'

Ben Krimmel
January 18, 2019 - 1:26 pm

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis' anti-tanking comments are "irresponsible," Danny Rouhier said on 106.7 The Fan Friday.

"Those comments are irresponsible," Rouhier said. "He shouldn't just go, 'I can't wait to lose.' Even though in his manifesto about ownership, by the way, he absolutely says you should be open and transparent about a rebuild. But he decided we don't want a rebuild."

"Even though, all you have to do is rest the guys a little bit more, I don't know, maybe play your first round draft pick in the NBA instead of in the G-League, get yourself a top three pick where you have a chance at Zion Williamson and then you can go win that title that everyone wants," Rouhier said.

Leonsis couched part of his anti-tanking statements in the success of the Washington Capitals

“All I have to do is look at last year with the Capitals. ‘Fire the coach. Fire the GM. Trade Alex Ovechkin. Trade Nick Backstrom.’ And that turned out okay," Leonsis told the media Thursday in London. "So, yes, I see all the things on Twitter. I read everything. I’m not all that happy with our performance, but you have to make non-emotional (decisions), what’s right for the franchise, what’s right for the team.”

Rouhier said it is wrong to compare the two teams.

"What he said is not right. He compared, directly, the Capitals and the Wizards," Rouhier said. "And he said, 'People wanted me to trade everybody.' A couple lunatic Caps fans may have, this is different. Everyone wants you to fire Ernie Grunfeld because he should be fired." 

Grant Paulsen pointed out it would be wrong of Leonsis to admit the team is trying to lose.

"Owners shouldn't come out and admit that they're tanking. I don't know what good that does," Paulsen said. "Call it something else, you could say we're going to rebuild, we're going to rebuild properly, we're gonna win and this is a means to an end."

"That's bad for business," Paulsen said of admitting to tanking.

However, Paulsen said Leonsis would be making an error if he never wanted to rebuild.

"If in fact he really thinks that they should never detonate or rebuild or draft at the top of the board, that I can't go along with," Paulsen said.

Meanwhile, ESPN's Zach Lowe reported the Wizards "have shown little appetite" for trading Otto Porter "for a return heavy on future assets and cap flexibility." Porter is owed over $55 million for the next two seasons after signing a 4-year, $106.5 million contract before the 2017 season.

Forty-five games down, 37 games to go in the 2018-19 season.

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