The decision for who will run the Wizards front office long-term is not imminent. In fact, it may not even be that close.
That's according to majority owner Ted Leonsis, who again displayed a surprising level of patience in his months-long process to replace Ernie Grunfeld, this time in an interview with the Washington Post. Leonsis says he does not expect to finalize the hire until after the start of free agency on June 30.
That effectively means that if they hire someone from outside the organization, that person will have little to no impact on the team this offseason. That may sound like hyperbole, but just look at the calendar.
The NBA Draft is on Thursday. The deadline on Jabari Parker's $20 million team option is June 29. Free agency will begin on June 30 and qualifying offers for restricted free agents are due that day as well.
By the second week of July, the Las Vegas Summer League will be in full swing. But the NBA offseason, at least the most important parts of it, will be pretty much over.
The Wizards will have already made their draft pick(s) and held the press conference. They will have likely settled matters one way or another with restricted free agents Tomas Satoransky, Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis. And by then, the phone could be ringing off the hook with trade offers for Bradley Beal.
Leonsis, though, is continuing to take the longview, knowing no one will really care in a few years if he nails the hire and the franchise is quickly steered back onto the right course.
The drawn out timeline raises many questions and the most obvious one is what they are waiting for. The NBA Finals are over. If they were waiting to talk to someone involved in that series, they can do that now.
Maybe he wants to see how interim president Tommy Sheppard fares in his first draft as the top executive. Maybe all of this, the draft and free agency process, is a test.
Maybe he plans to hire someone from outside the organization, but feels that installing them now wouldn't be good timing. Leonsis hasn't offered specifics in that regard.
At this point, it seems clear the best way to make this a productive offseason from a roster-building perspective is to promote Sheppard. He has been carrying out his vision and will do so through at least the start of free agency.
The Wizards won't have a ton of money to spend, but they will have some. Sheppard is going to be making the pitch and signing players to be part of the Wizards' future.
Someone else is just going to take it over after that? That doesn't make a ton of sense, unless Leonsis is okay with punting this offseason with his eyes on the bigger picture.
But also, consider the fact this isn't just a normal offseason. They aren't your typical team hitting the reset button. They have two All-Star players signed to large contracts, John Wall to a supermax deal and Bradley Beal to a max.
This offseason should be the start of laying the groundwork for life with Wall after his Achilles surgery. And if they have any hope of signing Beal to another contract, they need to show some signs of progress.
Late in the regular season, Beal was asked whether he would sign an extension with the Wizards and he said: "I wanna be able to know that we're going in the right direction in the future."
Beal said that in the context of a potential supermax contract worth approximately $194 million over four years. Now they can only offer him a smaller deal worth about $111 million over three years.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday the Wizards' intention to offer Beal the $111 million contract this summer. But if he wasn't a guarantee to accept the larger deal, then we know how he feels about the lesser one.
Beal has expressed his loyalty to the Wizards in numerous, sometimes-extreme ways. He has said everything from wanting to retire in a Wizards jersey to wanting to die in a Wizards jersey. He told NBC Sports Washington in February he wouldn't request a trade.
But he wasn't blowing smoke about wanting to see the team improve. Every indication from those familiar with his plans suggests he meant what he said. He is entering his eighth season and has already made plenty of money. He wants to win.
With that in mind, they can't really afford to botch this offseason. And if they have hopes of signing him long-term, they probably can't tear everything down around him for a rebuild.
That makes the patience Leonsis is showing so interesting. There are still ways to ultimately get this process right. But the longer they wait, the more they will potentially sacrifice.
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