The Washington Wizards are currently searching for their next head coach. Based on reports earlier this week, it seems like Washington will hire a current assistant coach (from any team, not just Washington), to succeed Scott Brooks.
Despite the search, some fans in the comments or on social media want the team to move on from General Manager Tommy Sheppard. The rationale for parting ways with Sheppard comes from the fact that he was with the team since 2003, the year Ernie Grunfeld was hired as President of Basketball Operations. And in addition, it’s not like the Wizards have suddenly become championship contenders or cleared the path for a rebuild.
That said, if the Wizards were to hypothetically fire Sheppard today, they would be in a spot similar to the Dallas Mavericks, where former General Manager Donnie Nelson and Head Coach Rick Carlisle left very recently. It’s possible that Washington could (they did in 2003) hire a head coach before hiring the GM or other front office executive who oversees cap space, trades and signings. But most people who are GMs or Presidents of Basketball Operations would rather have the ability to hire a head coach themselves instead of getting one upon arrival in most circumstances.
So knowing this, the Wizards are in a tough spot, especially if they were not confident in Sheppard (right now, there is no indication that that is the case from the team). Given the number of head coach vacancies in the NBA, the Wizards could still get almost anyone they want for an interview given their current situation.
But if they were to let Sheppard go, the Wizards would be at square one, potentially where they were just two years ago. By the time they hire a new executive, its possible successor gay they may not have the coaching candidates they would have otherwise liked.
So now, I bring it to you. This isn’t so much about what we think the Wizards will do, that seems clear. But if you had the ability right now, would you rather have Sheppard hire a new head coach for the Wizards where he could interview most of the hot names, or would you rather replace him first? To me, I’d rather see Sheppard stay and hire a head coach, which he hasn’t done yet since becoming the General Manager. He also hasn’t been “Ernie 2.0” which some Wizards fans have feared.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.