Who is Michael Winger? LA Clippers GM reportedly interviews for Washington Wizards position

Michael Winger interviews for Washington Wizards GM role
Michael Winger interviews for Washington Wizards GM role

The Washington Wizards have reportedly interviewed LA Clippers General Manager Michael Winger for a GM role to replace the departed Tommy Sheppard. The Wizards have been without a GM since April. Sheppard spent 20 years with the Wizards in various roles before signing as full-time GM in 2019.

Under Sheppard's reign as GM, the Wizards made only one playoff appearance in three seasons. Washington has turned to Clippers GM Winger as a potential replacement. Winger boasts significant front office experience.

He started his career in the sports business as an apprentice to prominent agent Ron Shapiro. His NBA stint started with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007 when they made the NBA Finals with LeBron James. Michael Winger was the director of basketball operations and team counsel under then Cavs' GM Danny Ferry.

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During his time there, along with LeBron, Winger worked with big names like Shaquille O'Neal, Ben Wallace and Mo Williams. The Cavaliers made the conference finals twice in that stretch.

Michael Winger continued his NBA journey with the OKC Thunder in 2012 under GM Sam Presti. He got to work with stars like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden as an assistant GM. The Thunder made the finals in his first year.

Winger had a significant role in the OKC front office. He contributed to draft, trades, extension and free agency-related decisions. Winger's best work as a front office personnel came with the LA Clippers, with whom he signed as a GM in 2017.

He was crucial in restoring the franchise's status as a contender after the end of the "Lob City" era. The Clippers have finished with a winning record every year under Michael Winger. They also signed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in 2019 to become one of the favorites to win the title.

The Clippers made their debut conference finals appearance in 2021. Championship success has eluded them over the years due to recurring injury problems with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.


Washington Wizards could use an experienced candidate like Michael Winger

The Washington Wizards are stuck in the middle of breaking up their roster or retooling it just enough to become playoff contenders. They haven't been able to strike major deals under Tommy Sheppard, who transitioned the team's policy in drafting and building.

Apart from John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards haven't made a significant draft addition under Sheppard. Winger has primarily been on teams that needed retooling and relied on trades and free agency to improve their roster.

He has a decent core to work with at Washington with Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis. Beal is under contract for four years with a player option in the final season of his deal, while Kuzma and Porzingis are impending free agents this summer, likely to re-sign with the team.

The Washington Wizards have shown flashes of their potential as a playoff-caliber team with this trio, and with a better-supporting cast, they could certainly improve and be more consistent.

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Edited by Arhaan Raje
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