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Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

Ted Leonsis' patience in GM search is a calculated risk with potential to backfire

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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Michael Jordan, Jordan Brand donating $100M towards racial equality and social justice

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Michael Jordan, Jordan Brand donating $100M towards racial equality and social justice

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand are giving $100 million to organizations dedicated to promoting racial equality and social justice.

In a joint statement Friday on social media, Jordan and the Jordan Brand said money will be paid over 10 years with the goal of "ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education."

"Black lives matter," the statement said. "This isn't a controversial statement. Until the ingrained racism that allows our country's institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of black people."

RELATED ARTICLE: BEAL THANKS D.C. MAYOR FOR BLACK LIVES MATTER PLAZA AND MURAL ON 16TH STREET

Jordan, the 57-year-old former Chicago Bulls great, is the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. The Jordan Brand is a subsidiary of Nike, the shoe giant that earlier Friday committed $40 million over the next four years to support the black community.

Jordan also released a statement Monday on George Floyd and the killings of black people at the hands of police.

"I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry," Jordan said. "I see and feel everyone's pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough."

Floyd was in handcuffs when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. Derek Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

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Bradley Beal thanks D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for new Black Lives Matter Plaza, matching mural on 16th street

Bradley Beal thanks D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for new Black Lives Matter Plaza, matching mural on 16th street

Washingon, D.C. Mayor Murial Bowser had "Black Lives Matter" painted Friday on a street that leads up to the White House, an effort to honor those who have peacefully protested throughout the week following the death of George Floyd.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who has been active off and on social media in the fight against racial injustices, took to Instagram on Friday to thank Bowser for her act.

"There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen, and to have their humanity recognized, and we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear on a very important street in our city," Bowser said during a press conference Friday, via NBC News.

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Bowser posted a video to her own Instagram account on Friday, officially naming that section of 16th street 'Black Lives Matter Plaza.'

Earlier this week, the Wizards released a strong, unified statement on social media condemning social injustice, racism and police brutality. Multiple players, including Beal, reposted the statement on their respective Instagram story.

The message had four different statements:

"We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country."

"We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement."

"We will no longer accept ineffective government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of color."

"We will no longer shut up and dribble."

Beal's Instagram post on Friday should not come as a surprise to anyone. In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wizards guard John Wall explained that Beal was the one who led the charge regarding the team's statement.

"We got a group chat that we have with our team,” Wall said. "Brad [Beal] started off with, like, this is what he was going to post, so we all agreed to it. We all agreed to it. We felt like it was a powerful message. We wasn’t going to force the organization or anybody to join us; this is the players coming together, and the organization came and did their thing."

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