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Ernie Grunfeld To Return As Washington Wizards' General Manager, According To Report

© Rafael Suanes
© Rafael Suanes

Editor's Note: Katz's recap of Wizards-Bobcats is below.

The Washington Wizards are busy putting away the Charlotte Bobcats as expected, but bigger news has broken. Michael Lee is reporting that Ernie Grunfeld will return as the Wizards' general manager and team president for at least one more year.

Grunfeld and owner Ted Leonsis have tentatively agreed to a deal that is believed to be for more than one year, a deal that would keep the team’s architect in Washington contractually until at least the end of the 2013-2014 season. Financial terms were not known, but Grunfeld’s present deal was set to expire at the end of this season. He has been the Wizards’ chief decision-maker since the late Abe Pollin hired him to take over the franchise in 2003

Lee reports that Leonsis liked the way Grunfeld cleared away salary-cap space over the past few years. The Wizards should have about $12 million to spend this summer.

More interesting (and surprising to me): Lee reports that the Wizards didn't even bother interviewing other candidates, turning down overtures from agents for the position. Perhaps Leonsis felt that was bad business when he was going to keep Grunfeld anyway. Perhaps Leonsis thought Grunfeld would remove himself from the applicant pool if he found out other candidates were being interviewed while he was under contract. Maybe there's a psychological element I am missing.

Saving that, the decision to do this now seems odd on the surface. I don't see the harm in at least talking to other people. While there is value is having a general manager for the draft process, that process doesn't intensify until May and June. Why not at least consider other options before making a decision? It's not like Leonsis had to hire the other candidates.

In any event, there is still much team building to be done. Here's hoping Grunfeld can do it. He certainly has put himself in a position to dramatically upgrade the roster. We'll see if he can get it done this time after the Gilbert Arenas-era Big 3 flamed out.