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Wizards name Tommy Sheppard GM, part of front office redo

July 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard is losing his interim tag as part of an organizational restructuring that includes hires from outside the NBA.

Changes announced Monday are part of the new leadership team for Monumental Basketball, a fledgling collective composed of the Wizards, Washington Mystics, Capital City Go-Go and Wizards District Gaming. Sheppard, a 25-year veteran of the NBA, had been serving as the Wizards’ interim GM after president Ernie Grunfeld was fired late in the regular season, overseeing the team’s draft and free agency.

Among the new hires is 43-year-old Sashi Brown, executive vice president of football operations for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns for about two years before being fired in December 2017. Brown, who has a law degree from Harvard and also worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars, will serve as chief planning and operations officer for Monumental Basketball.

Ted Leonsis, chairman and CEO of the new group, announced the changes. Leonsis says the goal is to build a leadership brain trust with deep Wizards and NBA experience and with sports professionals from inside and outside the NBA in an effort to adapt “to an ever-increasing competitive environment.”

“We broke the mold a little bit,” he said. “We don’t know if it’s the final answer.”

Daniel Medina will serve as chief of athlete care and performance. Medina spent over a decade with soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona as team physician and later became the team’s deputy director of sports science and medical department, involved in evaluating and researching new products designed to aid in athlete health and performance. He comes to the Wizards after serving as vice president of athletic care for the Philadelphia 76ers the past two years.

A new athlete development and engagement department will be led by former Georgetown men’s basketball coach John Thompson III, who will work with Sashia Jones, promoted from vice president of community relations to vice president of player engagement. Brett Greenberg, formerly the vice president of basketball analytics/salary cap management who has been with the Wizards for a decade, was promoted to assistant general manager for strategy and analytics. Jones has been with the team for 18 years.

“We have almost 50 athletes and we have to put them in a position to maximize their potential,” Thompson said. “We’re not four separate entities. This is one organization.”

Thompson served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup and also was a member of the Commission on College Basketball chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that examined Division I men’s basketball and its relationship with the NBA.

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