UPDATE on Apr. 29 at 12:20 p.m. ET: Chris Miller is the Wizards’ new TV play-by-play announcer. The original article is below, but it will be updated if there is more on Kutcher’s departure.
UPDATE on Apr. 29 at 2 p.m. ET: According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, it is possible that Kutcher’s departure wasn’t his choice, though his tweet below in the article is worded as if it was. Here’s the wording from Ourand’s article:
With Kutcher’s contract coming to an end, the RSN decided to promote Miller, who will call games with analyst Drew Gooden.
Miller was a finalist for the play-by-play job three years ago, and Kutcher’s contract expired after this season ended. With Kutcher’s contract now up, the parties have decided to move on. NBC Sports Washington General Manager Jackie Bradford said the following on Kutcher’s departure:
We thank Justin for his contributions to NBC Sports Washington and our Wizards coverage over the last three seasons. He brought a tremendous level of skill and professionalism as an announcer and served as a dedicated colleague and representative of the network. We wish him the best moving forward.
On Friday morning, Washington Wizards television play-by-play announcer Justin Kutcher announced that he was stepping down from his current role to pursue new opportunities. He was the play-by-play announcer for three seasons from the 2019-20 through 2021-22 NBA seasons.
After 3 grt years calling @WashWizards games on @NBCSWashington, I’ve decided to pursue other opportunities. I want to thank NBCSW, the Wizards organization, and all of the DC fans for welcoming me into your homes. You’ve got a fan for life, and hope our paths will cross again— Justin Kutcher (@JustinKutcher) April 29, 2022
Kutcher’s best moment as an announcer, at least in my opinion, was on Jan. 31, 2021 when the Wizards beat the Brooklyn Nets, 149-146 after Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook made back-to-back three-pointers to turn a five-point deficit into a one-point lead.
The Wizards have acknowledged the change on their Twitter account.
Kutcher’s time as the announcer was also marked by controversy or fan disapproval, simply because he replaced long-time play-by-play announcer Steve Buckhantz, who was popular with the Wizards fanbase. In an interview with our own Matt Modderno last winter, Buckhantz noted that he was not happy with the circumstances of his departure.
Also, Kutcher came to the Wizards as a D.C. outsider, unlike Buckhantz who is a Washington area native and long-time fan who wasn’t shy about screaming “DAGGER!” or “UNBELIEVABLE!” after a game-winning shot or great play. To be fair to Kutcher, it seemed like the controversy wasn’t really on him specifically. Again, it is more about how Buckhantz left.
It is unclear whom the Wizards and/or NBC Sports Washington would consider taking the reigns. Capital City Go-Go and Washington Mystics play-by-play announcer Meghan McPeak seems like a possible candidate on a shortlist. In a previous SB Nation Reacts survey, most of you are open to seeing McPeak as the Wizards’ play-by-play announcer next season. NBC Sports Washington Wizards reporter Chris Miller was also a fill-in play-by-play announcer last winter when Kutcher was out, so he may also be a possibility.
Let us know your thoughts on Kutcher’s departure and whom you would like to see as the Wizards’ next television play-by-play announcer.