Every Wizards fan knew that Wizards play-by-play commentator on NBC Sports Washington Steve Buckhantz wasn’t coming back for the 2019-2020 season after NBC Sports Washington failed to pick up the option on his contract.
Many Wizards fans loved Buckhantz who had been with the team for 22 years. Buckhantz loved his job as the Wizards play-by-play announcer and fans have given nothing but support to Buckhantz on social media following his departure from the team.
The Wizards and NBC Sports Washington will hire Fox Sports announcer Justin Kutcher to fill the void that Buckhantz has left. Part of Ted Leonsis’ company who own the Wizards, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, own a stake in NBC Sports Washington.
“From my perspective, yes, I heard officially from my boss at NBC Sports Washington last night that they were in fact, to use his words, going in a different direction,” Buckhantz told 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday. “I like to say going in the same direction with a different person, but yeah, that seems to be the phrase when somebody is let go, that they’re going in a different direction. So yeah, that is official.”
The Wizards chose to go with an entire new broadcast team after color analyst Kara Lawson resigned from her contract to become an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics in June. Lawson was on track to become the Wizards’ play-by-play commentator at the time.
After her departure the Wizards were left with two new positions to fill which gave both Buckhantz and Wizards fans hope that he would have his contract renewed. Unfortunately, that announcement never came as the Wizards will fill the color analyst role with both former Wizard players Drew Gooden and Caron Butler who will split time in the role during the 2019-2020 season.
NBC Sports Washington has stated that the Wizards and Monumental Sports weren’t involved in choosing the new broadcast team but Buckhantz refuses to believe that NBC Sports Washington’s statement was true.
“We know in part of this, too, when it’s network and team, team has some say in this,” Buckhantz told 106.7 The Fan. “Have you heard from anybody from Monumental Sports?”
Buckhantz even called out Leonsis and his son Zach who is the current vice-president for Monumental Sports.
“Well, that didn’t happen here, so that’s unfortunate, and that’s the most hurtful thing,” Buckhantz said. “And I have not heard from Ted or Zach at all since this has happened, or since the whole process even began, and that’s also hurtful.”
NBC Sports Washington’s General Manager Damon Phillips told 106.7 The Fan that “Anyone with knowledge of this process and how we operate our business, knows that talent decisions are made by the TV network, not the team. That may not be the case in other NBA markets, but that’s how it works here.”