X

Ted Leonsis Says Wizards' Owners Will Have More Hands-on Approach with Team

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2019

Ted Leonsis, owner of the NHL Capitols and NBA Wizards, addresses the American Gaming Association's Sports Betting Executive Summit, at the MGM Grand National Harbor Casino, in Oxon Hill, Md., Wednesday, March 27, 2019. The Supreme Court ruled last May 14 that any state can legalize sports betting if it chooses, and since then the action has been swift. Sports gambling is now legal in eight states, with more than 20 others at least considering legalization. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Cliff Owen/Associated Press

Washington Wizards managing partner Ted Leonsis said Wednesday the team's ownership group plans to take on a more hands-on approach ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season. 

Leonsis told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington an evaluation of the organization following the April firing of general manager Ernie Grunfeld revealed a need for high-ranking executives to become more active.

"Our owners are going to be more involved," he said. "You constantly have to gauge back and forth: is it good to be involved, or is it not good to be involved? Every agent, every player that I've talked to said the more they see Raul Fernandez and Laurene Powell-Jobs and me, the more connected they feel to what our vision and what our ultimate plan is."

Leonsis explained he received consistent briefings from Grunfeld, but there were limited interactions with other members of the front office, per Hughes. He now wants a more collaborative effort.

The Wizards have hired Sashi Brown, the former executive vice president of the NFL's Cleveland Browns, as their chief planning and operations officer and Tommy Sheppard as their general manager.

Leonsis told Hughes he accepts responsibility for the franchise's lack of success since his group took control in 2010, and said he fully plans to turn things around.

"This community loves basketball and I've let them down. We haven't won 50 games. We haven't competed for a championship since we've owned the team," he said. "Nothing will be a better feeling for every one of us to be in service to our fanbase and to the community than to build a championship and that’s what we’re going to do."

The Wizards have navigated a mostly quiet offseason, especially considering the number of elite players on the move this summer, and with star point guard John Wall expected to miss the entire 2019-20 campaign, the team isn't expected to contend in the immediate future.

Leonsis hopes ownership's new approach can change those fortunes in short order.