Wizards Rumors: Tommy Sheppard Agrees to Contract as New General Manager

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2019

Washington Wizards first round draft pick Rui Hachimura, left, shakes hands with Wizards senior vice president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard  as they arrive for an NBA basketball press conference at Capital One Arena in Washington, Friday, June 21, 2019.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

The Washington Wizards on Friday reportedly promoted interim president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard to full-time general manager.

Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reported the news.

Sheppard has spearheaded a collective in the basketball operations department since the Wizards fired Ernie Grunfeld in April. The Wizards reportedly pursued high-profile executives such as the Toronto Raptors' Masai Ujiri and the Denver Nuggets' Tim Connelly, who rebuffed their overtures.

Without a full-time general manager, the Wizards have seemed rudderless this offseason. Potential trades for Bradley Beal have not come to fruition, making it almost certain he will enter next season on the roster even though the Wizards are a prime candidate to rebuild.

Beal is a 26-year-old two-time All-Star with two years remaining on his contract and a near-perfect fit for any team in the modern game—the exact type of player who could command a trade package to kick-start a rebuild. The longer Beal remains in Washington, the less he'll bring back in a trade.

Sheppard was part of a front-office contingent that drafted Rui Hachimura with the ninth pick in June's draft without even meeting him beforehand, per Ben Mehic of SB Nation. The Wizards had an otherwise quiet offseason, re-signing center Thomas Bryant and helping facilitate the Los Angeles Lakers' trade for Anthony Davis by taking on Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones.

Washington also agreed to short-term deals with Isaiah Thomas and Ish Smith, who will replace the injured John Wall.

It's fair to wonder how prudent hiring from within will be for the Wizards given the dissatisfaction with Grunfeld among fans. There will a tepid response to the hire after the Wizards' lack of clear leadership this summer led to more consternation among the fanbase.

Shepard, 50, has spent 16 seasons with the Wizards. Buckner reported he's expected to fill out his basketball operations staff within the next month.

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