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Wizards part ways with GM Tommy Sheppard

Sheppard -- who was given an extension in November 2021 -- is let go after Washington missed the postseason for the 2nd straight season.

Tommy Sheppard served 4 years as general manager for the Washington Wizards.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Wizards are shaking up their organization after all — in the front office, at least.

The Wizards fired general manager Tommy Sheppard on Wednesday after the team missed the postseason for a second consecutive season. Sheppard’s dismissal comes less than two years after he received a contract extension in November 2021. Washington went 35-47 in 2021-22 and then posted the same record this season.

“Failure to make the playoffs the last two seasons was very disappointing to our organization and our fans. A search for new leadership will begin immediately for an executive from outside the organization,” owner Ted Leonsis said in a statement. “I would like to thank Tommy for his dedication to the Wizards organization and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

The Wizards signed star guard Bradley Beal to a max-value contract last offseason, but the team still didn’t show any clear improvement. Early last week, Sheppard met with reporters to wrap up the season. After about a half hour of fielding questions, he was asked if he’d officially met with Leonsis to confirm that he’d be back. He seemed surprised at the question.

“Myself?” Sheppard said. “That’s never been part of a conversation.”

Sheppard said that day that the team hoped to bring back Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma, both of whom have player options. While the Wizards were clearly upset with how this season went, no major changes seemed imminent, but now it’s clear there could be a significant new direction.

Sheppard spent 20 seasons with the organization. He was vice president of basketball operations from 2003-13 and senior vice president of basketball operations from 2013-2019.

He became the interim general manager when Ernie Grunfeld was fired late in the 2018-19 season, then had the interim tag removed. Sheppard’s tenure as GM was eventful. He traded John Wall for Russell Westbrook, then eventually dealt Westbrook away in the deal that brought Kuzma to Washington. Porzingis also came to the Wizards in a trade.

Washington also hired Wes Unseld Jr. as its new coach, and he just finished his second season.

Through all of that, however, Washington hasn’t been able to shed its status as a borderline playoff team at best.

Sheppard did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.