The Wizards have started seriously looking external candidates in their search to replace Ernie Grunfeld as the team’s top executive.
Fred Katz of The Athletic reported the team is interviewing Rockets Vice President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas this week. Rosas has spent the last 16 years in Houston where he’s played an important role in shaping the Rockets into an elite team. He is also a candidate for the Timberwolves’ vacancy and interviewed for the Pelicans opening before they hired David Griffin.
Candace Buckner is reporting the Wizards will also interview Danny Ferry, who was also a candidate for the Pelicans job. Ferry was previously GM for the Cavaliers from 2005 to 2010, leading the Cavaliers to two 60-plus win seasons during LeBron James’ first stint in Cleveland. He took over the Hawks in 2012 and put the pieces together that helped them win 60 games in 2015. However, Ferry was bought out after the season due to a scandal regarding offensive remarks in a scouting report on Luol Deng, for which he was later cleared of any wrongdoing.
Both candidates would be exciting hires for most fans. They both know what it’s like to work in strong organizations (Ferry started his front office career in San Antonio, Rosas has played a key role in building the Rockets into the league’s most analytically-advanced franchise) and they’re in high demand around the league. Ferry has a proven track record of success, made all the more impressive considering the challenges he faced with ownership in Cleveland and Atlanta. Rosas seems like an ideal candidate to push the envelope with new data and technology, which could be very appealing to Ted Leonsis.
The elephant in the room continues to be whether or not Washington will get a chance to make a serious pitch for Nuggets President Tim Connelly once Denver is knocked out of the playoffs. If so, it seems clear he would be the frontrunner, given his ties to the area, the organization, and his proven track record of success.
It could take some time before we know. The Nuggets are currently up 1-0 in their Western Conference Semifinal series against the Portland Trail Blazers. If they advance out of this round, it could still be nearly a month before Washington gets a chance to talk to him. If Washington gets a high pick in the lottery, it would make the job more appealing, which could benefit them. On the other hand, they’re losing precious scouting time while they wait and if Denver makes a deep run, it will be harder to pry him away.