If you thought a disappointing 43-39 campaign, coupled with a first round exit would spell the end of Ernie Grunfeld’s tenure in Washington, think again.
Candace Buckner of the Washington Post is reporting that not only will Grunfeld be back as the Wizards’ President of Basketball Operations for the 2018-19, but that the Wizards offered him the extension back in the fall, so the Wizards’ performance this season didn’t have any bearing on his status for next season.
We could stand here and tell you this is surprising, but it isn’t. The changnig of ownership didn’t lead to changes, the tumultuous end of the Gilbert Arenas era didn’t lead to changes, drafting Jan Vesely ahead of four All-Stars didn’t lead to changes, signing Ian Mahinmi to a $64 million deal didn’t lead to changes, using a first round pick to get out from a deal that had been signed just six months prior didn’t lead to changes, posting a losing record over the course of the prior 14 years didn’t lead to changes, so why would anything this season have made a difference?
Say what you want about the Wizards’ decision to keep Grunfeld around, but it certainly isn’t because of maximizing profits. The Wizards’ payroll this season was higher than the Rockets, who finished with the league’s best record, and the Raptors, who just finished eliminating them from the playoffs.
Still, arguably the most unusual part of all of this is how the team stays quiet about these extensions. When the Raptors extended Masai Ujiri’s contract back in 2016, they announced it. When the Rockets extended Daryl Morey’s contract last summer, they announced it. When the Wizards extend Ernie Grunfeld it’s usually discovered months after the fact by an intrepid reporter.
If you’re looking for a silver lining, it’s that the Wizards have shown an incredible amount of patience, which will perhaps serve them well one day when Grunfeld steps down and the team needs to find a new general manager. The job security that comes with the position will make it a highly coveted spot around the league once it opens. Until further notice, it’s probably just best to refer to this tweet whenever you need to know Grunfeld’s status.
Grunfeld asked about his contract: "I'm under contract."— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) June 21, 2017