Ted Leonsis did his first extended interview in a while with Casey Phillips of the team-sponsored Monumental Network, and while he didn't say anything particularly meaningful or unexpected about the Wizards, there were some interesting moments. (Click here to watch it on Monumental Network if you cannot see the above video).
Nene likely back Wednesday, but on a minutes limit
Even though he won't be playing significant minutes right away, it's still great news to see that he should be back for a critical game against the Bobcats.
1. Leonsis said that he will not rest until the Wizards are "honest competitors" for an NBA championship. Yet at the same time, he said that "you can’t win a championship unless you qualify for the playoffs." This was his way of addressing concerns that he's content with just remaining a playoff-caliber team that picks up home revenue, but never seriously develops into a contender.
2. Leonsis said he was pleased with the veteran acquisitions that the Wizards made this year, mentioning Al Harrington and Andre Miller specifically as players who have been respected by the younger players on the team. Ted mentioned Harrington as a player who helped calm the team down and get ready for the Celtics game on April 2, which the Wizards won to clinch their playoff berth.
3. Leonsis expects the younger players to be "shocked" when they play in the first quarter of their first playoff game, since the games will be more intense. But he is still optimistic that the Wizards will be fine and doesn't care about who the Wizards play in the first round.
4. He implicitly referred to the Ten Point Plan at the 8:30 mark, saying that in order to become a good team, the Wizards had to be bad in the standings for several years in order to be able to draft John Wall and Bradley Beal.
5. At around the 6:30 mark, Leonsis did talk about all of the teams at Monumental Sports, which include the Capitals and the Mystics. He was happy to see that all of the teams, including the Wizards, have made the playoffs in the last 12 months. Of course, it's a real uphill battle for the Capitals to make the playoffs this season, something that's bothered a lot of people.
6. Perhaps Leonsis' most interesting line was when he said that "we’re going to spend to the max. We’ve made those investments in all of our teams. We honestly can’t spend more money." This is not literally true, because the NBA has a soft cap and teams are allowed to exceed the luxury tax. In Leonsis' mind, though, it's functionally true; he's said to us that he'll never exceed the tax because "the new CBA truly has draconian penalties for those who exceed it in the out years." The Wizards are currently very close to the $71.7 million line.
It's also worth noting that Monumental Sports doesn't have a practice facility or a dedicated D-League affiliate for the Wizards right now. These are ways for the Wizards to spend more money without having it be applied to the cap. (To be fair, Leonsis does want to build a new practice facility by 2017).
One question I would like to ask him, since he did decide to talk about all of his teams in the aggregate: Which of the three Monumental teams does he see as the one which is most likely to win a championship as of today?
So, what are your thoughts on Ted's recent remarks?