Wizards will name Sheppard permanent GM

Ben Krimmel
July 20, 2019 - 12:54 pm
Wizards will name Tommy Sheppard as permanent general manager.

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Interim no more.

The Washington Wizards will soon remove the word interim from Tommy Sheppard's job title and will soon make him the 12th general manager in franchise history, per The Washington Post's Candace Buckner.

Sheppard has been acting as interim president of basketball operations for the Wizards since longtime president Ernie Grunfeld was fired from the position he held for 16 seasons on April 2. And Buckner reports the Wizards moved forward with Sheppard after a search included four other candidates from other organizations, per several people close to the situation.

During the search, the Wizards interviewed Houston Rockets assistant GM Gersson Rosas, former DeMatha High standout and NBA executive Danny Ferry, and Oklahoma City Thunder VP of basketball Troy Weaver. Denver Nuggets executive and DMV-native Tim Connelly turned down an offer from the Wizards. And after the NBA Finals, reports indicated Wizards owner Ted Leonsis was interested in Raptors president Masai Ujiri

Buckner reports Leonsis chose Sheppard because of his "performance this offseason and his global network within the sport."

During his three and a half month stint as interim head, Sheppard has overseen a sizable amount of roster changes for a franchise in transition. The Wizards drafted Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick and made a deal to take Admiral Schofield in the second round. Before free agency began in July, he jumped into the Lakers and Pelicans deal for Anthony Davis to grab three young players for cheap.

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Sheppard signed Thomas Bryant to an extension and added veteran point guards Ish Smith and Isaiah Thomas in free agency. Traded for Davis Bertens and dealt Dwight Howard to Memphis for CJ Miles. All done to help get the team out of the hole left by his predecessor. 

However, the work isn't done. Washington faces a salary cap crunch due to injured point guard John Wall's large contract and a huge decision to make over whether the Wizards should re-sign All-Star guard Bradley Beal to a three-year extension. Or Sheppard might trade Beal and continue the rebuild he began earlier this summer.

While the uncertainty over who would be in charge long-term will soon be over, the uncertainty over the long-term direction of the franchise is not.

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