It has been an age-old question for Wizards fans: why hasn't the city of Washington, D.C. made the franchise a free agent destination?
Many NBA players love D.C. Take LeBron James, for instance. Back in 2010, when he was asked to rank his five favorite NBA cities, Washington made the list.
The Wizards haven't translated that appeal into a whole lot of success in free agency, but general manager Tommy Sheppard is confident it will happen. He was asked about the city of Washington as a free agent selling point during a Twitter Q&A on the Wizards' account last week.
"It's a great free agent city," he said. "[It's] by far one of the greatest cities in the United States and in the world. That's something that is very hard for the rest of the league to compare to. We have one of the best ownership groups in all of professional sports."
Sheppard also framed the discussion in a different way, noting the Wizards' success in convincing players like John Wall and Bradley Beal to stay. Beal was technically a free agent when he re-signed for the first time back in 2016, though a restricted one.
It was the same deal for Otto Porter Jr. when he signed to stay with the Wizards in 2017.
"I will always go at anybody that says we don't get free agents here. Look at the ones we've retained over the years. We've retained our biggest free agents, they've wanted to stay here and re-signed. We've attracted plenty of free agents over time," Sheppard said.
What many would point out is the well-publicized swings and misses from the Wizards in free agency, Kevin Durant and Al Horford being famous recent cases. But Sheppard is certainly right about keeping players in town. That is much easier said than done if you look at recent NBA trends.
For the Wizards to become title contenders any time soon, though, they might need some really good players to join them in free agency from other teams. Sheppard believes the franchise is building a foundation that could lead to success in that area.
"If you have a great city, great facilities and great ownership. Everything else can kind of come together quickly. And that's my goal for the Wizards and our goal together is to kind of elevate this team quickly and to get back to the playoffs, get deeper in the playoffs. That's certainly our goal. It's not going to happen overnight, but I can tell you that we're not going to wait for it. We're going to keep pushing. We're going to push very hard this summer to keep improving. I think we're going to have a really good outlook over the next five years," he said.
You can watch the full Q&A right here:
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