Dagger! Steve Buckhantz could soon be out as Wizards announcer

Chris Lingebach
March 06, 2019 - 6:22 pm
Steve Buckhantz could soon be out as Wizards announcer

Twitter: @SteveBuckhantz


Longtime Wizards play-by-play announcer Steve Buckhantz has been informed NBC Sports Washington will not be picking up the option on his television contract, Dan Steinberg reports for The Washington Post.

Via Steinberg (WaPo):

Two years after NBC Sports Washington broke up the popular Wizards television team of Steve Buckhantz and former player Phil Chenier, who was moved off game broadcasts, there could be more changes in store.

The network recently informed Buckhantz, the longtime Wizards play-by-play man, that it would not pick up the option on the third year of his contract "at this time," leaving his future with the network unclear, said his attorney Phil Hochberg.

Buckhantz, who's in his 22nd season calling Wizards games, needed to be notified by March 1 whether the network would pick up his option, Steinberg reports, adding, "The network plans to review and assess all aspects of its Wizards telecasts and explore its options before settling on a broadcast booth for next season."

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Chad Dukes and Thom Loverro reacted viscerally on 106.7 The Fan as the news broke.

"Ernie Grunfeld can still have a job, but Steve Buckhantz would be out," Loverro said. "This is ridiculous! He's an icon in this town. He's great at what he does. He's carried so much water. I mean, having to call the games for this god-forsaken, pathetic basketball team for years! And then you're gonna show him the door? Maybe it's a mercy firing."

"I just tweeted this," Dukes said. "Nobody hates anything more than Ted Leonsis hates Wizards fans.

Reading the tea leaves from Buckhantz's attorney, Loverro surmised "it sounds like they're moving on. They're already looking for Buck's future, (and it) may be away from the Wizards."

"Oh, I'm sure there's some Instagram influencer that they're going to bring in here!" Dukes railed. "Somebody that's really got a big, strong Snapchat following, gonna bring them in here to call Wizards games.

"There is no goodwill left for this team! And whatever tiny fragment of it is, you just chiseled off!"

"It's amazing that Ted Leonsis, who made a list of 100 promises to Wizards fans when he bought the team, has turned out to be such a tone-deaf owner," Loverro said. "I mean, he used this word all the time, 'We're gonna be transparent,' and he's done just the opposite. It's stunning that Hockey Ted and Basketball Ted are the same guy."

Two years ago, in April 2017, the network announced that Chenier would not be back, breaking up the team that D.C. fans had long associated with the Bullets/Wizards. Kara Lawson took over the role the following fall. Among the network's concerns mentioned by Buckhantz's attorney is his client's "chemistry with the younger Lawson." 

The door remains open for Buckhantz to return, according to Steinberg. Both Buckhantz and NBC Sports Washington declined to comment to The Post.

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