Connelly Rejected The Wizards, Now What?

With Tim Connelly rejecting the offer to run the Wizards, someone has to take on the sinking ship

“Loyalty and Patience” is a driving factor behind Tim Connelly’s subtile rejection of the Washington Wizards offer to run the franchise to stay an executive with the Denver Nuggets.

Connelly, a DMV native, was a sure lock to return to an organization he once called home. To be the President of Basketball Operations/GM of the Wizards would be the culmination of a young career. Instead, by staying in Denver with the Nuggets, Connelly shows poise

At his end of year press conference, Connelly further explained why he chose loyalty and patience:

“Those things matter to me. …  You kind of close your eyes and you envision yourself somewhere else and you think about those relationships and collectively I had a hard time envisioning myself elsewhere.”

Tim Connelly

Building a contender is what drives front office personnel and after reaching the top of a nearly complete rebuild, we see top guys leave to start the process over again because the drive to the top can be their vice. Connelly chose to not jump after being one game short of the Western Conference Finals. He and current Nuggets General Manager, Arturas Karnisovas, were the architects behind this Denver run and leaving now would leave unfinished business on the table.

It is a commendable action by an executive but it also shows a careful consideration into the job and realization that he does not want to have the John Wall super-max kick in and potentially ruin a reputation. Who blames him?

As a fan of the Wizards, I do not even want the job in my fantasy world. To build a contender with the roster in its current state is not possible. John Wall will account for 33.88% of the team’s salary cap TO NOT PLAY in the 2019-2020 season. It is the equivalent of knowing how much money you need to buy a pair of Allbirds but you can only spend $62.81 because $32.19 became soiled in the sock drawer. You cannot get to the same level of an Allbird with over a third of your money inactive.

It is unfair to also have another 24% of the cap room wrapped up in Bradley Beal and expect him to lead this team to the promise land. If the Wizards could promote a Beal / *insert superstar player here* to free agents; it would be enticing enough to at least get a meeting.

The Wizards are stuck between a rock and a hard place with 57% of the cap entangled by two players who have no desire to be a part of a rebuild. After also getting screwed by the NBA in the lottery – for which I will not discuss – there is little wiggle room next year to bring in free agents. The best the Wizards can hope to do is bring back their restricted free agents on their restricted tenders and not have to match absurd contacts to create another layer to cap hell.

Washington Wizard Restricted
Free Agent Tenders 2019
$26.53 mil
Sam Dekker$8.28 mil
Bobby Portis$7.48 mil
Tomas Satoransky$5.94 mil
Thomas Bryant$3.02 mil
Chasson Randle$1.81 mil

Factoring in the restricted tenders and declining the $20 million team option on Jabari Parker, the Wizards would be $10 million over the $109 million 2019 NBA Salary Cap Max, according to Spotrac. Not tendering Dekker and releasing the non-guaranteed contracts, the team would have one million in cap room entering the draft.

If this were NBA 2K franchise mode, it would be easy. Trade John Wall, Dwight Howard and Ian Mahinmi and open up cap room. But in reality, the Wall contract is continually referred to as the worst contract in basketball, Dwight is another butt joke away from not playing and Mahinmi was the worst signing in all of basketball in 2016 – you cannot argue with me; I’ve made up my mind.

What potential General Manager wants to enter this situation with no outlook? Whoever takes the job would need a to ride out the 4 years of the super max before they could really be graded. By the time 2023 rolls around, the team may be looking to reboot the whole franchise after 2-3 years with another coach since it is likely Scott Brooks is relieved of his duties in the 2019-2020 season.

At least the Capitals won the Stanley Cup last year.

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