According to a chat with ESPN writer Mechelle Voepel on Thursday, November 15, 2012, she noted that a spokesman for the team stated that there is no timetable as to when a new General Manager and/or Head Coach would be named. This also comes in addition to an article from the Washington Business Journal this past Wednesday that Washington Wizards and Mystics business chief Greg Bibb will leave Monumental Sports and Entertainment, effective December 31, 2012.
On Mechelle Voepel's chat:
I'll give you the entire quote she said today specifically regarding the Mystics. In fact it was the first topic of discussion:
I hate to start with a downer topic, but it's been on all our minds. I was told by a Mystics spokesperson this week that there is no "set" timeframe for when a new coach and/or GM will be hired. I have heard that Mystics [COO] Greg Bibb is leaving the organization, but I don't know the details about that yet. I have talked to other folks in the league who are concerned about the Mystics' lack of action thus far. Some have told me that Sheila Johnson is not very involved with the process. Then you look at the issues that Monumental Sports is dealing with in regard to the NHL labor dispute and the fact that the Capitals are not earning any revenue now. And you add in the colossal disappointment of the WNBA draft lottery for the Mystics. I have heard from a few different folks in the league (from other teams, not from the league office) that they think the league should have stepped in and done something bold about making sure the Mystics did NOT fall to the position they did in the draft. So all of these things add up to concern about the Mystics' future. The organization made a series of self-harmful decisions over the years, and we've hashed that out a lot. But there are other factors that the Mystics' brass have less control over that have impacted this current situation, too. I don't want to sound overly dire, as if I think the Mystics won't be around in 2013 or will be relocated. Because I certainly *don't* know that to be the case. But the longer there is silence (or non-answers) from the Mystics, the more concerned everyone who's in the league or follows the league is going to be.
So what does this mean? Well, I'll first address the fact that there's no "set" timetable for a new basketball operations leader.
As we have said last week, there isn't necessarily a big rush to hire a new GM at the very least, because free agency will not start for another couple months. However again, the lack of communication between the team and its fans regarding this issue is also not good.
The silent treatment also sends a message that the Mystics may also have played their last season this past summer.
Other teams apparently feel sympathetic for the Mystics' current situation. Why doesn't the league do anything more about this?
Well, it is true that the Washington Mystics ownership is responsible for inflicting much of the damage to itself. However, as Voepel noted, much of the current situation in DC now is not ownership's fault, though it can seem like karma.
To get back to the silent treatment that Monumental Sports has given the Mystics, this hasn't gone unnoticed to other teams and it isn't for a good reason. If other teams don't see anything good about the Mystics, I'm sure the WNBA has an eye on it too.
League President Laurel Richie has been pretty public about keeping the current 12 teams in their markets, but now she likely has a tough choice to make, especially if she knows that Monumental Sports wants out. If Richie allows the Mystics to relocate, how quickly can she find new ownership, and is it possible for them to move as soon as 2013 without a big hiccup? If she allows the Mystics to fold, how can she try to prevent a situation where Phoenix would presumably get Crystal Langhorne in a dispersal draft?
If the WNBA and many of its teams really believe that the Mystics cannot survive without a 2013 top three draft pick, well, they should either have modified the 2013 draft lottery rules beforehand so the Mystics couldn't fall past #3. The other option at this point is to encourage either the Phoenix Mercury, Chicago Sky, or Tulsa Shock to trade their 2013 first round picks to the Mystics, but doing so isn't necessarily in any team's interest aside from DC. I don't see the Mercury getting any fair deal with DC, but the other two teams could perhaps get a number of future high draft picks since the #2 or #3 picks in the 2013 Draft probably wouldn't lead the Mystics to a championship at least for next year.
Still, with the Mystics being silent, it doesn't put them in a good situation with other teams and fans of this league. Even if the teams with Big Three Draft picks are all totally willing to trade those picks to DC at the risk of ire from their own fans, silence from the other side may give a perception that the Mystics don't want their "help." And nothing is stopping the Mystics from trading anyone, even without a General Manager.
Does the NHL Lockout have anything to do with their silence?
One thing Voepel noted is that Sheila Johnson is likely not heavily involved, but considering the last couple seasons, I at least don't have a problem with that as long as someone else is told to do the job and is transparent about it. At least some fans may hope that majority owner Ted Leonsis, would be more involved. But as we've noted here, Ted not only owns the Mystics, but also the Wizards and Capitals.
Also, the NHL has yet another lockout at this time, and Ted is on the NHL's Negotation Committee, trying to hammer a new collective bargaining agreement so that is probably his number one time eater. So, his hands are tied as well, but either way, it is best that someone else higher up say something, even if it is Sheila Johnson.
Some Mystics fans have noted that the pending departure of Greg Bibb, the team's Chief Operating Officer is not good news for the team.
Aside from the fact that former General Manager Angela Taylor reported to him, at least formally, I don't really think that Bibb's departure from Monumental Sports should be connected directly with what's going on with the Mystics' current situation, nor should this situation be connected as to why he's leaving.
If you didn't read the article from the Washington Business Journal that's linked above, Bibb will start his own sports consulting business with venture capitalist and Monumental Sports minority owner Fredrick Schaufeld, so it doesn't seem to indicate that he was fired or pushed out, and the fact that he's working with someone involved, even in a small role with Monumental Sports doesn't scream scandal to me.
In addition to former Mystics star Chamique Holdsclaw's warrant for her arrest for allegedly smashing her ex-girlfriend's car, looks like good news is still yet to be found for the Washington Mystics.
So in conclusion, Mechelle Voepel's message in her chat can certainly imply that something ominous is going to happen in Washington. But again, we shouldn't rush to conclusions that a folding is imminent (though it sounds more likely now), nor should we be overly optimistic that everything will be resolved soon in Washington either, since perhaps they are still trying to do something behind the scenes.
But until something happens for the worse, or for the better, I don't know how many conclusions anyone can make. All this can do is only add to frustration not only for Mystics fans, but also fans of this league.
What is your thought of the WNBA's handling of the Washington Mystics' current situation?
The WNBA should not meddle too much with any individual franchise, so it is doing fine. (3 votes)
The WNBA needs to try to keep the Mystics in Washington, and perhaps put in some measures to save the team and keep it there. (16 votes)
The WNBA should do what it can to keep the Mystics running shop in the short term, but definitely try to move it to new ownership when the opportunity presents itself. (8 votes)
The WNBA should allow the Mystics to cease operations if that's what they want to do. (3 votes)
30 total votes