Wizards owner Ted Leonsis again stressed his plan to build a championship-caliber team by drafting and developing young talent but also added that he expects the Wizards to eventually attract all-star talent to pair with John Wall.
“I hope to have our team to being considered a destination where players want to play,” Leonsis said. “Everyone knows that this is a fantastic city. If we can get the place rocking with lots of energy and we have an environment where they’re not just talented players, they’re welcoming, they’re embracing of people that join the team, word gets out and people will want to play here.”
Leonsis laughed off reports that depicted him as a hard-line owner, mentioning one account that labeled him a “hawk” following a meeting that he didn’t even attend because he was at a funeral.
“I voted yes for the deal,” Leonsis said. “It’s a partnership with the players, we’re in it together. As I said to the players at lunch, I only know of two relationships that I have 50-50 implications, one is with my wife, the second is with the basketball team and so I’m going to love them like their family, but I expect that same amount of love back. We all laughed and know we’re in it together, so I’m happy. I want to move on.
“My biggest issue in all of the discussions and negotiations was about competitiveness. I want to be able to build a team and keep it together, and I think that’s what the fans, before the fans can fall in love with your team, they need to know that ownership’s committed,” Leonsis said. “I anticipated a new system when I bought the team, that we could keep that team together, and I think we made some progress on that front. . . . I want to be more loyal to the players I know.”