The Washington Wizards in conjunction with Monumental Sports & Entertainment have officially announced the future of the team’s front office over three months after firing Ernie Grunfeld from his post as team president for 16 seasons. Former Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Tommy Sheppard will assume the role of general manager in leading the Wizards, but the changes do not stop there. Washington has added Sashi Brown to serve as chief planning and operations officer for Monumental Basketball and Daniel Medina will serve as chief of athlete care & performance for Monumental Basketball. Monumental Basketball is a newly-formed collective that includes the Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, Capital City Go-Go and Wizards District Gaming.
“We have formed a new leadership team with a forward-thinking structure to adapt to the ‘new NBA’ that requires every possible strategic advantage to compete and win,” chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis said in a statement. “We are building a leadership brain trust with deep Wizards/NBA experience and with sports professionals from inside and outside the NBA to challenge our thinking and adapt to an ever-increasing competitive environment.”
Sheppard will lead strategy, analytics, player personnel, scouting and coaching for the Wizards, Go-Go and District Gaming while Brown and Medina will lead teams providing shared services to all Monumental Basketball franchises. Brown will manage efforts relating to technology, finance, communications, security, research and player engagement and Medina will head up medical, training, mental health, strength and conditioning, nutrition and physical therapy/recovery. Mike Thibault will continue to lead all basketball activities for the Mystics as head coach/general manager while Pops Mensah-Bonsu will continue as general manager for the Go-Go, reporting to Sheppard.
Brown, 43, is the former Executive Vice President of football operations for the Cleveland Browns. He served in that position for nearly two years until his firing in December 2017. Prior to that, he was the Browns’ executive vice president/general counsel since 2013. He was lead counsel for the Jacksonville Jaguars before that from 2005 to 2012. The Hampton University graduate worked as an attorney for a D.C.-based firm so this opportunity allows him a chance to return to the area.
Medina has spent the last two seasons as the vice president of athlete care for the Philadelphia 76ers. His contract was not renewed in June. Dr. Medina previously spent over a decade with F.C. Barcelona including as the team physician from 2008-2015.
Besides the trio of Sheppard, Brown, and Medina that will form a brain trust reporting to Leonsis, Washington is creating a new athlete development and engagement department, which will be led by former Georgetown Hoya head coach John Thompson III. It is intended for Thompson, who was recently at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, to maximize player potential on and off the court. The department will focus on financial literacy, post-playing career opportunities and the overall empowerment and development of the athletes.
Thompson will work with Sashia Jones, formerly vice president of community relations, who is being promoted to vice president of player engagement. Brett Greenberg, who formerly was the vice president of basketball analytics/salary cap management, has also been promoted with a new title of assistant general manager for strategy and analytics. Presumably, Greenberg will be Sheppard’s No. 2 specifically for the Wizards organization. Jones and Greenberg will be entering their 18th and 10th seasons with the team, respectively.
The team will hold a press conference on Monday afternoon where Ted Leonsis, Tommy Sheppard, Sashi Brown, Daniel Medina, John Thompson III, and Mike Thibault will be in attendance. The Hoop District team will be in attendance where more clarifying information will be provided.