The departures, first reported by the Athletic, are the first substantial changes in the organization since Washington’s new front office took form as Monumental Basketball in July 2019. The moves fall under Chief of Athlete Care and Performance Daniel Medina’s purview; Medina is part of a three-pronged decision-making tree alongside General Manager Tommy Sheppard and Chief Planning and Operations Officer Sashi Brown.
Hettiarachchi, who designed the Wizards’ year-round strength, conditioning and injury prevention programs, had been with the organization since 2003. Smith and Bangs joined in 2016 and O’Donovan in 2018.
Their departures come after an injury-riddled few seasons for Washington, beginning most notably at the top of the roster with John Wall, who has not played a game since December 2018, and Bradley Beal, who recently sat out the Wizards’ trip to the NBA bubble with a nagging shoulder injury.
Wall underwent surgery to remove bone spurs in his heel in January 2019 and ruptured his Achilles’ tendon weeks later. The team expects the point guard to be back at the beginning of next season after he spent the latter part of this summer training in Miami alongside player development assistant coach Alex McLean. Beal focused on rehabbing his right rotator cuff, which he initially injured in November, in Washington while the team played in the Kissimmee, Fla., bubble.
Starters and role players missed significant chunks of time during the season. Starting forward Rui Hachimura missed six weeks with a groin injury. Starting center Thomas Bryant missed about six weeks with a stress reaction in his right foot, returned to action and then experienced a similar injury in the same foot weeks later that caused him to miss several more games. Backup big man Moritz Wagner missed six weeks with a high ankle sprain, and sharpshooting forward Davis Bertans missed nine games with a quad injury.
The four departures come on a dismal day for Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The group, which owns the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and Capital One Arena along with the Wizards, is indefinitely furloughing 232 full-time employees because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The furloughs represent more than one-third of the company’s full-time payroll.