2010 NBA Draft and Offseason Blog

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
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Ted Leonsis Taking Washington Wizards on a New Path - Aug. 8

Ted Leonsis is the majority owner, chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, a group that on June 9, 2010 became owners of the NBA's Washington Wizards, NHL's Washington Capitals, WNBA's Washington Mystics, the Verizon Center and the Baltimore-Washington Ticketmaster franchise.

Leonsis, a former vice-chairman at AOL and an Internet marketing pioneer, also serves as chairman of SnagFilms, Clearspring Technologies and Revolution Money. However, his most unique attribute is likely his "scorecard" of personal and professional life goals. He drew up the 101 item list at age 25 after surviving an airplane flight that nearly crashed. Since that day in 1983 he's checked off 74 of those 101 items.

And now his next item is turning around D.C.'s NBA team, which hasn't won 50 games in a season since 1979 or a playoff series since 2005. Leonsis, whose net worth is in the billions, was gracious enough to take time out of his very busy day to answer my questions about where the Wizards are going.

I first asked Leonsis about the challenges of being a sports franchise owner, and if there's any difficulty in separating the "being a fan" from being an owner.

"I think it would have been had I not owned the Caps first," Leonsis responded. "But I learned a lot of valuable lessons: let the professionals do their job; and I set strategy and culture and budget."

In our social media age, the term "Web 3.0" is part of most people's lexicon. So it's pretty common to hear that term being thrown around. But when Leonsis, an Internet business pioneer, uses the term it takes on another level.

"The Wizards are in 3.0 re-boot mode. We're unabashedly rebuilding the team and re-crafting the way we operate from a business standpoint. Because we have all new management with different experiences from Mr. Pollin, and all the great folks who owned and operated the team beforehand," he said.

Leonsis is following in legendary footsteps. Pollin was the longest tenured owner (46 years) in NBA history, and a beloved figure in the D.C. area. He even had a service award named after him.

As Leonsis begins a new era in Wizards basketball, he (along with every other NBA owner) must face a very severe threat - a possible 2011 lockout. A new Collective Bargaining Agreement must be re-negotiated at the conclusion of this upcoming season, and it looks like things could get ugly when those meetings occur. I asked him if it's affected the way business was conducted this offseason.

"I'm totally focused on what I have to do with our team this coming season, and I have not thought about or have I been involved with the new CBA," he said. "And I won't comment on it. It's totally up to the league."

So while there may be dissension between NBA players and league ownership, Leonsis explained that the Wizards' front office is currently in harmony. I brought up the experience and knowledge of Head Coach Flip Saunders, who took over the team in April of 2009.

"Very impressed with him, very astute and talented, and able to build a team with the system that he likes to play with," Saunders says. "I think the coach, the general manager {Ernie Grunfeld, whose been with the Wizards since 2003} and the owner are all in alignment." "And I think that's a good first step towards building a very good franchise and team."

Last year, Forbes.com rated the Wizards as the 19th (out of 30) most valuable NBA franchise with a valuation of $313 million. With Leonsis now at the helm, expect to see that ranking increase substantially next year.

For part two of this interview which discusses the Wizards roster and on-the court issues, check back here tomorrow.

Recent NBA Draft and Offseason Blog Entries:

Four-Team Trade - 8/12
More with Ted Leonsis: Turning around the Washington Wizards - 8/11
Ted Leonsis Taking Washington Wizards on a New Path - 8/8
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 8/5 (Shaq)
NBA Announced Nationally Televised Game Schedule - 8/4
Michigan State Dismisses Chris Allen - 8/4
2011 NBA Free Agents - 7/30
2010 NBA Offseason Losers - 7/29
2010 NBA Offseason Winners - 7/28
Larry Bird Ranked Worst NBA GM - 7/27
Chris Paul Possible Trades - 7/26
Tracy McGrady to Chicago looking Extremely Likely - 7/26
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/24 (Kurt Thomas)
2011 NBA Draft Trades - 7/24
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/23 (Jefferson)
John Hammond May Have One More Transaction Up His Sleeve - 7/23
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/20 (Kleiza)
Evan Turner vs. Purdue Fans in Heated Twitter Trash Talk - 7/19
Top 10 2010 NBA Free Agents Available - 7/18
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/18 (Brad Miller)
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/17 (Brewer)
Magic Match Offer Sheet for J.J. Redick - 7/17
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/16
How Does Wesley Matthews Fit in Portland? - 7/16
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/15
Jefferson-Chandler Trades Analysis - 7/14
Michael Redd Era Over in Milwaukee - 7/14
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/13
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis (Last Weekend's) - 7/13
Childress-Turkoglu-Morrow Trades Analysis - 7/13
Sixers' Evan Turner Struggled in Summer League - 7/13
Specific Details of NCAA Tournament Expansion Announced Today - 7/13
Bulls Sign Kyle Korver, Offer Sheet to J.J. Redick - 7/11
Brainwashed Timberwolves Fans Fail to See the Light - 7/10
Winner in LeBron Sweepstakes? Milwaukee Bucks - 7/10
Larry Sanders Brings a Unique Skill Set to Milwaukee - 7/10
LeBron James to Miami Heat Recap - 7/9
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/9
Knicks-Warriors David Lee Trade Analysis - 7/9
Timberwolves-Heat Michael Beasley Trade Analysis - 7/9
Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to Miami Heat - 7/8
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/8
The LeBron James Show - 7/8
Carlos Boozer Signs with Bulls - 7/8
Profiling Milwaukee's Potential Point Guards - 7/8
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/7
2010 NBA Summer League Recap - 7/7
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/6
2010 NBA Summer League Recap - 7/6
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/5
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/4
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/3
It's Not LeBron or Bust for the Bulls - 7/3
2010 NBA Free Agency Signings Analysis - 7/2
2010 NBA Free Agency: Day 1 - 7/2
Former NBA Player Kendall Gill on the Bulls Free Agent Prospects - 7/2
2010 NBA Draft Day Trades - 6/25
Foreign Flavor Losing Flair in NBA Draft - 6/24
Bucks-Warriors Corey Maggette Trade - 6/23
2010 NBA Draft Mailbag - 6/22
76ers-Kings Samuel Dalembert Trade - 6/18
2010 NBA Draft Mailbag - 6/3
2010 NBA Draft Lottery Odds Breakdown - 5/17
Evan Turner's Flaws - 5/13
Where Will Joe Johnson Go? - 5/12
Bulls Could Use Oklahoma State's James Anderson - 5/10
2010 NBA Draft Mailbag - 5/9
2010 NBA Draft Early Entries - 5/9
Debate's Over: Deron Williams is the Best Point Guard - 5/8
Someone to Be Drafted from DePaul? Yes, Really - 5/7
Gani Lawal: Testing the NBA Draft Waters - 5/6
Can De'Sean Butler Be Mr. Clutch in the NBA? - 5/5
Derrick Favors: No. 1 Big Man on 2010 NBA Draft Boards - 5/4
Jordan Crawford: More Than the Guy Who Dunked on LeBron - 5/3
Devin Ebanks is an NBA Draft Wildcard - 5/3
Where Will Dwayne Wade Go? - 5/1
Where Will Chris Bosh Go? - 5/1
2010 NBA Trade Deadline Grades - 2/19
NBA Offseason and Draft Blog - Home

2015 NBA Mock Draft

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2014 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings: C | PF | COMBO-F | SF | COMBO-G | SG | PG

2017 NFL Mock Draft - March 23

2018 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 17

NFL Picks - Feb. 7

Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 7

2017 NBA Mock Draft - June 23

NFL Free Agents

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