Owner Ted Leonsis says Wizards are trying to model the Clippers
Following the firing of longtime president Ernie Grunfeld after 16 years of service, the Washington Wizards have tried to revamp their front office with one franchise in mind as the perfect model — the L.A. Clippers.
“The team that we most wanna look like who we stumbled into mirroring a little bit organizationally is the Clippers,” said Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “You’ve got (chairman) Steve Ballmer. And he has a great coach (in Doc Rivers), who’s now just a coach. And he has the general manager. And he has presidents. And they’re adding lots of horsepower brainpower. It became a destination that way. Well, we’re gonna build that. … You go to the NBA and you say, ‘Who are the two more progressive companies in technology and media?’ They’ll say, Washington and the Clippers.”
Much like the Wizards, the Clippers faced plenty of shortcomings in the playoffs before re-assessing their stance and re-working Doc Rivers’ role as president and head coach, giving the former title to Lawrence Frank and allowing Rivers to focus solely on coaching.
The Clippers consequently lost DeAndre Jordan, but were able to compete with Tobias Harris at the forefront before trading him to the Philadelphia 76ers in February and still managing to win despite being star-depleted.
Washington will have a tough time making that happen, but they have started to take the right steps by solidifying their front office and making Tommy Sheppard the general manager while putting forward a three-pronged leadership program to help the development of their athletes.