After 16 years, the Ernie Grunfeld era in Washington is officially over. That means the Wizards will be in search of someone new to lead their front office.
Here are some names to watch as that search begins...
Tommy Sheppard, Wizards senior vice president of basketball operations
Sheppard is serving in the interim as leader of the Wizards front office with Grunfeld out. He has been with the organization for 14 years working under Grunfeld.
Sheppard is considered a candidate in the search for a new person to lead their front office, but could have the team's recent history working against him. He has not been a GM before, so could lend a fresh perspective in that regard, but has been part of the same decision-making process as Grunfeld through the John Wall era.
David Griffin, NBATV analyst
Griffin might be the biggest name out there due to the fact he ran the front office in Cleveland when LeBron James and the Cavs won the title in 2016, and because since getting fired he has found success as a TV analyst. He also interviewed for the Sixers job recently before Elton Brand was hired.
But there are a few reasons why Griffin may not be a good fit in Washington. For one, there may be more enticing opportunities to wait for, ones that don't have the salary cap issues the Wizards do with John Wall's contract and injury. And also, he reportedly didn't fit in Philly because he wanted final say and the Sixers were looking for a collaborative front office effort. If the Wizards have similar priorities to the Sixers in choosing a front office boss, Griffin may not be the guy.
Arturas Karnisovas, Nuggets general manager
The Denver Nuggets have done such a good job of building their roster in recent years that it is only natural their front office will be poached by other teams. Karnisovas is already a GM, but serves under president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.
Karnisovas has interviewed for jobs in recent years like the Brooklyn Nets, but has also sent out signs he wants to remain in Denver. He was promoted to the GM job in 2017, turned down a chance to interview for the Sixers job in September and received a contract extension in February.
If Washington wants to look elsewhere in the Nuggets' organization, Karnisovas' assistant GM happens to be Calvin Booth, a former Wizards center.
Marc Eversley, Sixers VP of player personnel
Eversley has been with the Sixers since 2016 and interviewed for the Hornets job before Mitch Kupchak was hired. Before joining Philly, he was the Wizards' vice president of player personnel. Before that, he served as the assistant GM of the Raptors. Eversley also interviewed for the Sixers job last summer before they went with Brand.
Gersson Rosas, Rockets VP of basketball operations
It seems only a matter of time before Rosas gets a general manager job. Though he technically served that role for the Mavericks briefly in 2013, he hasn't had an extended opportunity to run his own front office. In the time since leaving Dallas, Rosas has been a hot candidate, interviewing for the jobs in Charlotte and Philadelphia before they were filled.
Rosas has extensive experience managing a G-League farm system. He would also bring analytics credibility as a disciple of Daryl Morey. And keep in mind, in the event of a head coaching search down the road, that he has a history with Jeff Van Gundy, whom some have speculated could return to the sidelines.
How things ended with Rosas and the Mavs, though, should be considered. He was hired as their GM, only to resign three months later due to what was reportedly a power dispute.
Milt Newton, Bucks assistant GM
The Wizards could dip back into their past with this one. Newton was in the Wizards' front office from 2003 to 2013 and worked his way up to VP of player personnel. He went from that job to Minnesota where he was their general manger from 2013 to 2016. Newton had a strong relationship with former Wizards coach Flip Saunders and rejoined him with the Timberwolves.
Newton was fired from his job in Minnesota and currently serves as the assistant GM for the Bucks. He joined them in 2017 and has been a part of their meteoric rise to one of the best teams in the NBA.
Pops Mensah-Bonsu, GM of Capital City Go-Go
Wizards could go in-house with Mensah-Bonsu, who has NBA scouting experience beyond his one year running their G-League affiliate. He also played for the Wizards during their 2013 training camp and was a star at nearby George Washington University.
Troy Weaver, Thunder VP and assistant GM
Weaver has for years been considered a future GM, having interviewed for various jobs in the past including the Blazers and Hawks. He has a local connection having attended Prince George's Community College. Weaver helped create the highly successful, Washington-based AAU team 'D.C. Assault.' Weaver also has a history with Wizards head coach Scott Brooks.
Brian Wright, Spurs assistant GM
Wright could be the next in the long line of Spurs front office execs to end up running other teams (see: Sam Presti, Dennis Lindsay, Sean Marks). He spent time with the Magic and Pistons in various roles before joining San Antonio three years ago. He grew up in Silver Spring, Md.
Mike Zarren, Celtics assistant GM
Zarren has already been linked to the Wizards by Marc Stein of the New York Times as a potential candidate. He has been with the Celtics for 14 years and is considered a future GM in NBA circles. Zarren went to Harvard Law School and is credited with helping Boston make leaps in advanced analytics.
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