Wizards general manager search shaping up: reports
The Washington Wizards have made progress in their general manager search. According to multiple reports, a list of candidates has been formed and owner Ted Leonsis has started interviews.
Per ESPN, the Wizards have interviewed Danny Ferry, Houston’s Gerrson Rosas and Oklahoma City’s Troy Weaver. The team is also reportedly interested in Denver’s Tim Connelly and Toronto’s Masai Ujiri. Washington’s acting general manager, Tommy Sheppard, remains a serious candidate, as well.
Besides Danny Ferry and Houstons Gersson Rosas, OKC Thunder VP of Basketball Operations Troy Weaver interviewed for the Washington Wizards GM job today, league sources tell ESPN. Weaver is a DC native. Interim GM Tommy Sheppard is also under consideration for permanent role. Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 1, 2019
Ferry most recently was with the New Orleans Pelicans, stepping in as interim general manager after Dell Demps was fired in February. But he’s best known for being the architect of a Atlanta Hawks team that won 60 games in 2014-15.
He stepped down from the Hawks, however, the following summer after a leaked audio recording revealed Ferry describing potential free agent Luol Deng as “having a little African in him.” Ferry said he was reading remarks prepared by a third party scouting report, and an independent investigation backed Ferry’s claim. But he still resigned from job in June 2015.
Ferry would be a local hire, if he were to get the job. His father, Bob, was the Bullets’ general manager from 1973 to 1990.
Rosas and Weaver, meanwhile, are two respected executives for two perennial playoff teams.
Rosas, 40, is considered to be general Daryl Morey’s No. 2 and serves as Houston’s executive vice president of basketball operations. Weaver is the No. 2 to Thunder general manager Sam Presti.
NBC Sports Washington’s first reported Ujiri’s interest in the job. Ujiri is regarded as one of the league’s top general managers, forming playoff teams in Toronto and Denver.
He’s reportedly “intrigued by the idea of moving to Washington” because his wife is from the District and the city could be a larger platform for “Basketball Without Borders,” in which Ujiri serves as the director of the program that brings basketball clinics and camps to Africa.
Per the report, Ujiri is still considered a long-shot for the job.
As for Connelly, the Wizards will likely have to wait for the Denver Nuggets to be eliminated from the playoffs in order to speak with him. Connelly got his career started with the Wizards, and one source told NBC Sports Washington that Washington would be Connelly’s “dream job.”
But it’s unclear if Connelly would leave the Nuggets after rebuilding them into one of the West’s top playoff teams. After being hired in 2013, Connelly oversaw a rebuild in Denver, but won 54 games this season around star Nikola Jokic. Connelly, who’s from Baltimore, also signed a contract extension with Denver in January.
The Wizards are in search for a new general manager after Leonsis fired Ernie Grunfeld last month. Washington finished the season 32-50 and missed its goal of making the playoffs. Grunfeld had been with the team for 16 seasons.
Washington has hired a third party to assist with identifying candidates, as well as evaluate the organization from top to bottom.
“I think Washington D.C. and our fan base is fantastic,” Leonsis said last month. “I think our investment in infrastructure is second to none. I think people believe in our ownership group. We have the most diverse, one of the most powerful ownership groups and we’re very, very focused on trying to make everything that we touch world class. And I don’t think we will have any doubts that this is the best, important job in all of sports right now.”