Michael Winger, the general manager of the Los Angeles Clippers, has been hired as the president of Monumental Basketball. Winger has experience working in the front offices of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers as well.
On a special “emergency” episode of Bleav in Wizards, Dan Favale of the Hardwood Knocks podcast and Bleacher Report joined me to break down all aspects of the hire. We covered whether Winger will have full autonomy to make whatever decisions he wants, how involved he was in previous marquee decisions at his former jobs, his history working around Hall of Fame caliber players, and what this move could mean for the Wizards’ current free agents.
Winger has been with the Clippers since 2017. Prior to that, he spent seven years working under Sam Presti in Oklahoma City. And before that, he worked under Danny Ferry in Cleveland from 2005 to 2010. During those stints, he has never worked for a team that didn’t finish with a winning record. This was likely an appealing selling point for Ted Leonsis, who attributed Tommy Sheppard’s dismissal to his failure to make the playoffs.
The biggest questions are whether he will be free to decide the direction of the franchise and who he will bring in to help him, both of which we discussed at length on the podcast. As the president of all of Monumental Basketball, which includes the Mystics and Capital City Go-Go, he will likely need someone to handle more of the day to day operations for the Wizards.
If Winger is the ultimate decision maker it may not matter as much who fills that role. However, if he plans to delegate major responsibilities, that hire could become much more meaningful. As far as his own autonomy, Favale and I laid out the case on the podcast why this job likely would not have appealed to him unless he had serious assurances of being able to run the team his way.
What do you think of the hire? Let us know in the comments!