New Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard continues to put his imprint on the franchise — this is not the Ernie Grunfeld show anymore.
The latest move: Hiring veteran NBA forward — and former Washington Wizard — Antawn Jamison as the new director of pro personnel.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bring Antawn back to the Wizards organization,” Sheppard said in a statement. “In addition to his strong feel for the game and basketball knowledge, he has always been a true professional and a dedicated worker. We look forward to him bringing those qualities to our front office.”
Jamison played six seasons of his 17 NBA seasons in Washington and was a two-time All-Star in our nation’s capital. Jamison was also the 2004 Sixth Man of the year.
Since stepping away from the game in 2014, Jamison has worked on front office jobs, spending the past couple of years as a scout for the Los Angeles Lakers.
In his new role with the Wizards, Jamison will work with VP of player personnel Johnny Rogers to head up and organize the Wizards’ NBA, G League, and international scouting.
Sheppard has shaken up the Wizards front office after taking over from Grunfeld, who was fired after 16 mediocre seasons in Washington. Among the moves was to change up coach Scott Brooks’ staff — Mike Longabardi, Dean Oliver, Corey Gaines, and Jarell Christian are Wizards’ assistant coaches now — plus Mark Simpson was brought in as the vice president of player performance. In addition to Jamison, Laron Profit and John Carideo were hired by the Wizards as pro scouts.
Changes to the franchise culture and infrastructure are the first steps to rebuilding the product on the court. With John Wall likely out for all of next season due to a torn Achilles, the franchise is trying to show All-Star Bradley Beal it is on the right path to contending and convince him to stay with the Wizards. Sheppard offered Beal a three-year, $111 max contract extension (the most Washington can offer right now), but Beal wisely has not signed it yet. While it would give Beal financial security short term, if he makes the All-NBA team next season (he was seventh in guard voting last season and six players make All-NBA) he would be eligible for a $250 million extension. Even if he just waits to be a free agent in 2021 and resigns with the Wizards he would make $8 million more a season. Without Beal signing it, his name will come up in trade rumors, even as the Wizards shoot down every other GM who calls about him.