Wizards Stay In-House, Make Tommy Sheppard Full-Time GM
The Wizards have "removed the interim tag from Tommy Sheppard's title," making him the 12th GM in franchise history, according to a source cited by Candace Buckner of the WASHINGTON POST. Sheppard had been in the interim role since April 2, when former President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld was fired. Sources said that the Wizards "decided to move forward with Sheppard" after a search that "included at least four candidates from other organizations." A source said that Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis met with another GM candidate at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, but Leonsis "ultimately chose Sheppard for his performance this offseason and his global network within the sport" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/19). Buckner in a separate piece wrote Sheppard's promotion "represents only a fraction of a wide-ranging overhaul of the franchise's basketball operations department." Sources said that Monumental Sports & Entertainment "plans to announce that Sheppard will be a basketball-focused executive overseeing not only the Wizards and G League affiliate Capital City Go-Go," but also NBA 2K League team Wizards District Gaming. Sheppard, who has "worked in sports for more than half of his life, has a more eclectic resume" than most GMs. He has a "wide network of information and resources" with a background in "public relations, the Summer Olympics and domestic and international scouting" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/21).
RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB: In DC, Chase Hughes wrote Sheppard "may not have been the first choice among fans initially" when he was tabbed to fill in for the departed Grunfeld. But he has "acclimated himself well, showing in many ways he is prepared to lead a team as the top person in charge." He "cleaned up the Wizards' salary cap situation as best he could, giving them some newfound financial flexibility beyond next season." Sheppard did that while "flooding the roster with young, cheap and high-upside players," and he "did so by making some tough decisions, ones that helped demonstrate he can provide an organizational reset despite his role in the previous regime" (NBCSPORTSWASHINGTON.com, 7/20).