Tommy Sheppard has been doing the work as the Wizards GM since April when Wizards owner Ted Leonsis finally ended Ernie Grunfeld’s run as team GM.
Sheppard was the GM through the draft. Through free agency. All the time with the “interim” tag on his job title. In Las Vegas for Summer League, plenty of other executives wondered why that tag was still on Sheppard’s title.
It’s finally coming off, reports Candace Buckner of the Washington Post.
The Washington Wizards removed the interim tag from Tommy Sheppard’s title Friday, promoting him to be the 12th general manager in franchise history, according to a person with knowledge of the situation…
The promotion of Sheppard, who will be entering his 17th season with the Wizards, mirrors the internal hiring decision Leonsis made with his hockey team. In 2014, Leonsis elevated Brian MacLellan as the Washington Capitals senior vice president and general manager after firing George McPhee. Before the promotion, MacLellan had spent the previous seven years under McPhee as an assistant general manager.
This likely will be made official in the next 48-72 hours.
Part of the delay may have been that a couple of prominent names were linked to the Wizards job at different times. There were reportedly talks with Tim Conley, who built Denver into a real threat, but he decided to stay in the Rockies. There were rumors of Masai Ujiri coming to the District, but he has chosen to stay in Toronto after winning a title.
Making Sheppard the full-time GM provides some stability just as the Wizards reach their most important moment of the summer.
On July 26 the Wizards can offer star two guard Bradley Beal a three-year, $111 million extension. The Wizards have been talking to Beal’s people and the offer will be made.
What Beal decides will decide the Wizards future for years. If Beal doesn’t sign that offer, the Wizards have to look at trading him. If he signs it, they need to build more around him.
Beal has spoken numerous times in the past about wanting to stay with the Wizards. However, there was plenty of informed speculation at Summer League that he is frustrated with the franchise and could choose to not sign it and essentially force his way out.
Either way, Beal’s decision will define the next steps for Sheppard for years.