Washington’s new owner Ted Leonsis promised changes. He asked fans what needed to change around the Wizards and the Verizon Center where they play.
He got a box full of suggestions, and on Wednesday he posted a list of 101 things he has done to improve the team at the request of fans (via the Washington Post).
More open training camp moved closer to Washington D.C.? Check. Colder beer? Check. Wi-Fi in the building? Check. Reconnect with Gilbert Arenas? Check (well as much as anyone can check it).
Change the team’s name back to Bullets? That’s “under consideration.”
Interesting. Not likely, but interesting.
Under consideration is a pretty noncommittal phrase. Leonsis said that a change of team colors was “in development” (look for red, white and blue soon). But with that color change would he really change the name back to Bullets?
“Bullets” has some historic value, but was changed by Abe Polin because of the gun violence seen in D.C. and the nation. He though the perception was wrong. (Which makes the Gilbert Arenas situation from last year a little sadder.)
With that as the backdrop, it’s hard to imagine a change back to Bullets. Leonsis said it is under consideration, but he also said that drafting more local players was under consideration. It’s not really — it’s only under consideration when the area turns out an NBA caliber player that falls in the right spot in the draft.
And you can expect the name change isn’t getting that much consideration. But it’s out there.
Ted Leonsis, despite day-to-day involvement with the Wizards, wasn’t technically the owner. Thanks to the beauty of the NBA bureaucracy, the sale of the team hinged on approval from the NBA’s Board of Governors, as do all transactions of this ilk.
Well, everything is now officially official: according to the Associated Press, Leonsis’ purchase of the team (or more specifically, Lincoln Holdings’ purchase of the team) has been approved by the Board, signifying a successful ownership transition after Abe Pollin’s passing earlier in the season. The Pollin family maintained control of the team throughout ’09-’10 but the sale to Leonsis has been an inevitability for some time now.
Washington’s ready for a fresh start. With Leonsis writing the checks, John Wall in D.C., and cap space to burn, things could turn around pretty quickly for the Wiz.
It’s not what’s being said, it’s who is doing the talking.
We’ve known for a month that the two sides in the sale of the Washington Wizards — the family of former owner Abe Pollin and incoming owner Ted Leonsis — had basically agreed to a price for the team and the Verizon Center. A cool $550 million.
But when that report first broke it was people talking off the record. Today it was the Pollin family talking to the Associated Press.
Leonsis, a former AOL executive, and the Pollins ran into some snags in talks this year. But in a statement Tuesday, Pollin’s sons, Robert and James, said they and their mother, Irene, congratulate Leonsis on this “near-final step in a long negotiation.”
“It’s not a ‘done, done’ deal, but it’s fairly close,” Robert Pollin said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “A signed deal should be a matter of days.”
Principles in a deal will not talk until things are so far along they can almost never go wrong. They are too cautious, to worried about things leaking that kill the deal. For the Pollin family to speak, it’s a sign that this is really all over but the fancy pens and a signing.
Congratulations Leonsis — you own the Washington Wizards. Good luck with that.