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Wizards owner Ted Leonsis says leadership struggles led to Ernie Grunfeld's dismissal

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis says leadership struggles led to Ernie Grunfeld's dismissal

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis joined Chris Miller on Thursday's Wizards Talk Podcast, where he spoke candidly about the team's ongoing front-office search. 

Leonsis went into detail about the circumstances that led him to move on from team president Ernie Grunfeld after 16 years with the organization. 

Specifically, the owner said Washington's leadership structure didn't foster the kind of collaboration he valued in his other ventures. As a consequence, Leonsis only spoke directly with Grunfeld, rather than hearing a diversity of opinions on major decisions. 

"We have great, great people in our organization, but I only met with the president of the organization [Grunfeld]," Leonsis said. 

"That was the deal we cut and it was a less collaborative environment than I am used to with the Caps or my other businesses, but that was the understanding that I had." 

Later in his conversation with Miller, Leonsis insisted that he gave Grunfeld ample time and resources to build a successful franchise, detailing investments in infrastructure, technology, staff and player salaries.

"That is what has been so frustrating to me," he explained. "The best new building in the league and how do we leverage it? You know we were the first with VR, one of the first with high-speed cameras. One of the first teams with tools in the building that can help heal players. We were in the [luxury] tax for two years. We built coaching staffs that are world-class.

"We say no to nothing and we lost 50 games. That's why we had to make a change." 

Since Grunfeld's dismissal on April 2, Tommy Sheppard has led the Wizards front office as interim president. 

Leonsis' "say no to nothing" approach should make the Wizards' job attractive to potential candidates, but the position remains unfilled with the NBA Draft less than a month away.

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Rui Hachimura to take on Donovan Mitchell in first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament

Rui Hachimura to take on Donovan Mitchell in first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament

NBA fans will get a chance to watch some of their favorite players go head-to-head once again, just not in the setting we're used to. 

With the regular season under suspension, the NBA announced the first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament, featuring 16 players who will play each other in NBA 2K20 for $100,000 donated to coronavirus support efforts. 

The tournament will begin on April 3 on ESPN and will include the following players seeded 1-through-16 based first on their 2K rating and second on their seniority in the league:

1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (96)
2. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (90)
3. Hassan Whiteside, Portland Trail Blazers (87)
4. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (87)
5. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (86)
6. Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers (85)
7. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (85)
8. Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers (85)
9. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers (85)
10. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (85)
11. DeMarcus Cousins (81)
12. Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (81)
13. Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards (79)
14. Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers (78)
15. Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings (78)
16. Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat (78)

Each player will choose eight current NBA teams to use before the tournament starts, though they can only use each of their selections once. The first two rounds are single elimination, while the semifinals and finals will be best of three. 

Wizards standout rookie Rui Hachimura enters the tournament as the No. 13 seed and will begin the tournament against Utah's All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell Friday. Mitchell may have a higher 2K rating and status in the league, but there's no telling where either player's 2K skills stand. 

Hachimura could very well take Mitchell down and set up a showdown with the winner of Andre Drummond vs. DeMarcus Cousins. 

The first round will begin Friday and run through the weekend, with the second round airing next Tuesday and the semifinals and finals wrapping up the tournament on Saturday, April 11. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Drew Gooden will answer questions in a special-edition mailbag

Drew Gooden will answer questions in a special-edition mailbag

Retired NBA player and current NBC Sports Washington analyst Drew Gooden is taking your questions.

To ask Drew a question about the NBA, Wizards, his career or anything else (within reason of course), please email drewgoodenmailbag@gmail.com. 

Drew will pick a handful of questions to respond to in this special-edition NBA on hiatus mailbag.