This is bound to sit well with fans in the nation’s capital. Fresh off a premature first-round playoff exit and yet another disappointing season, it’s being reported by The Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, that the Wizards secretly extended GM Ernie Grunfeld during the season.
Why Washington’s brass would go out of its way to extend the embattled executive remains to be seen. But no one within the organization’s hierarchy will to speak on it.
“When reached for comment, a spokesman for majority owner Ted Leonsis and his company Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which runs the Wizards, declined to address the terms of the deal,” Buckner reported. “According to a person close to the situation, however, the Wizards offered the extension in the fall.”
It’s easy to understand why the Wizards wouldn’t want to make this public record. During his 15-plus years in Washington, Grunfeld has continually failed to build a contender with talented pieces that should have led to Washington being among the best back east.
Most recently, that included matching the Brooklyn Nets’ four-year, $106.5 million restricted free agent offer to Otto Porter last summer. All Porter did in his first season since signing said extension is average less than 15 points per game. Other recent failures include signing center Ian Mahinmi to a four-year, $64 million deal. He averaged 4.8 points this past regular season.
Most figured Washington would move on from both Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks after a disappointing and drama-filled 2017-18 campaign. Instead, Grunfeld has been extended yet again and Brooks has yet to join a growing number of coaches to be fired.
One has to wonder how the summer is going to play out in D.C. now that Grunfeld is going to be running the ship again. Does he look to move either Bradley Beal or John Wall, two players the GM has extended recently? Would that be admitting a mistake in the first place?
In any event, the decision to extend Grunfeld before seeing how the 2017-18 season would play out was a downright failure for the Wizards. They’re now stuck with a man that has failed to build a legitimate contender at every turn.