Tommy Sheppard is already making a major impact with the Wizards, and Jabari Parker is proof

Chase Hughes
NBC Sports Washington
The Wizards let yet another veteran player leave in free agency. That says plenty about the new course Tommy Sheppard is charting for them.

Tommy Sheppard is already making a major impact with the Wizards, and Jabari Parker is proof

The Wizards let yet another veteran player leave in free agency. That says plenty about the new course Tommy Sheppard is charting for them.

LAS VEGAS -- When the directive came to shed salary at the trade deadline in February, the Wizards struck a deal with the Bulls that sent Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago and brought Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker and a second-round pick to Washington. Five months later, all that remains with the Wizards is that second round pick, which they won't see until June of 2023.

That amounts to an uninspiring return for Porter, who they drafted third overall back in 2013 and developed into a player that signed a max contract extension in 2017. They cleared enough money to circumvent the luxury tax, but from a basketball, roster-building perspective, it was a net loss for the Wizards.

That was solidified on Monday, as news broke that Jabari Parker was signing with the Atlanta Hawks. He is now gone from the organization after playing only two months worth of games. And he follows Portis, who signed with the Knicks, out the door.

Veteran players leaving the Wizards this offseason with younger, cheaper guys taking their spots has been a theme. Jeff Green signed with the Jazz, Trevor Ariza bolted for the Kings and Tomas Satoransky joined the Bulls.

Those players signing elsewhere says plenty about the team's new direction under interim president Tommy Sheppard. Clearly, they are prioritizing youth and long-term financial flexibility.

We are also learning something about Sheppard. He appears to be making a case that things can be different under him than they were under Ernie Grunfeld, with whom Sheppard worked for 16 years.

Letting Satoransky walk, in particular, had to be a tough pill to swallow. Sheppard scouted Satoransky as a teenager and did much of the work to get him to the NBA from overseas.

Sheppard took a good deal of pride in Satoransky's development. One could assume that helped Satoransky's chances return, yet Sheppard still held firm and let him go.

Sheppard could have opted to keep Portis and/or Parker to salvage the trade he helped execute. Instead, he made the difficult call to move on, knowing how the deal would then be viewed in retrospect.

These are the types of tough decisions that would probably be easier for someone brought in from outside of the organization to make. But Sheppard has been able to operate throughout the Wizards' roster overhaul with impartiality.

Time will tell if the Wizards made smart decisions. Parker's price ended up dropping to $6.5 million per season. Given he's 24 and better than most of the players on their roster, the Wizards could have justified paying that.

But keeping Parker didn't fit into Sheppard's vision of what this team should be. They are trying to reset the roster around John Wall and Bradley Beal, and clearly, Parker didn't mesh with that plan.

Perhaps it was his shortcomings on the defensive end, or that he would take minutes and shots away from other players they want to develop. His playing style does have some redundancies with Rui Hachimura, the Wizards' 2019 first round pick.

The Wizards entered this offseason with a large group of free agents. So far, the only one they have kept is Thomas Bryant. The others have become casualties of a new order of business in Washington.

























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Tommy Sheppard is already making a major impact with the Wizards, and Jabari Parker is proof originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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