Leonsis: Wizards built to win now, remain flexible in future

Leonsis: Wizards built to win now, remain flexible in future
July 17, 2014, 8:00 pm
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Truer words have never been written than the first half of the first sentence of the latest blog post from Ted Leonsis, the majority owner of both the Wizards and Capitals.

"This has been the busiest of offseasons," Leonsis begins before delving into the myriad of transactions and issues he and his management teams have dealt with over the past 2-3 months.

On the Wizards side, that included retaining head coach Randy Wittman, re-signing starter center Marcin Gortat, adding future Hall of Fame forward Paul Pierce plus fellow free agents Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair to a team that reached the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs this past season and the postseason for the first time since 2008.

"We enter next season with a very solid starting five, including Gortat, Pierce, Nene, [John] Wall and [Bradley] Beal," Leonsis wrote. "I believe that is a very good mix of young players and veteran players. I believe Paul Pierce is a future Hall of Fame player and he is the leading scorer in Boston Celtics history.

"Perhaps equally important, we have signed many vet free agents and also made astute sign-and-trades to add to our depth as a franchise. I am very pleased that we have built an organizational structure and changed the culture so that terrific and talented and experienced players now want to come play in D.C. and for the Wizards and for our growing fan base. 

"We will have a very big, tough and talented team come next season. We will have a fine mix of young players and vet players. We are a team constructed to win now and to have flexibility to win in the out years, too."

Talk of future plans surfaced this week as buzz swirled about D.C.'s own Kevin Durant possibly returning home to join the Wizards when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2016.

[RELATED: It's official: Wizards announce Paul Pierce signing]

Leonsis continued.

"We have made many changes to improve the team for the coming seasons, but also have been astute in managing our salary cap to give us flexibility in  future off seasons. And we have done so in a very straight forward and honest way.

"I believe we have acted with integrity, without grandstanding, and we did the right things in the right way; for today and with an eye out for tomorrow. I believe we have had a very successful offseason."

Leonsis also briefly touched on two matters that figured to get a second look once all the free agent smoke settled: A new practice facility and the lack of a D-League affiliation. 

The Wizards currently use the Verizon Center for practice and general exercise. D.C. mayor Vincent Gray previously floated the idea of Washington building a new facility in the District.

In May, the Iowa Energy entered into a single affiliation partnership with the Memphis Grizzlies, thus ending their relationship with the Wizards and several other NBA teams. These single-affiliations have become the trend league-wide, though a chunk of teams continue to share D-League squads with other franchises.

"We also are in planning stages on a new practice facility for the Wizards and we are in early discussions regarding the D league and what we should do here as a part of our basketball operations and the new NBA landscape," Leonsis added.

"All good things come to those who wait. I believe we have prioritized our work in basketball matters in the correct fashion."