Report: Wizards To Replace Ernie Grunfeld, Finally, My God, I Thought They'd Never Do It

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Image for article titled Report: Wizards To Replace Ernie Grunfeld, Finally, My God, I Thought They'd Never Do It
Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais (AP Photo)

The Washington Wizards have fired longtime team president and head personnel honcho Ernie Grunfeld, according to a tweet by the Times’s Marc Stein that made the top of my head explode like Mount St. Helens, splattering the interior walls of my home with confetti and glitter.

Wait, here it is again, just in case I’m having a stroke:

Image for article titled Report: Wizards To Replace Ernie Grunfeld, Finally, My God, I Thought They'd Never Do It

Grunfeld, for the mercifully unacquainted, had been running the Wizards’ basketball operations since 2003 and is a living monument to organizational stagnation, as well as bad-faith and craven ass-covering. He’s the appallingly incompetent shit-for-brains who:

  • Traded three players and the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft—which, not for nothing, could have been used to select Stephen fucking Curry—to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, a pair of role players both of whom were entering the final seasons of their contracts, and neither of whom remained with the Wizards after the following season; and
  • Gave Gilbert Arenas a six-year, $111 million contract after the knee injury and surgery that permanently sapped Arenas’s athleticism and reduced him to a husk of himself—the contract that prompted the NBA to create its 2011 amnesty clause; and
  • Traded Arenas for Rashard Lewis, up to then the only player in history with a contract nearly as bad as Arenas’s; and
  • Gave washed-up 32-year-old Antawn Jamison, who sucked even in his prime, a four-year contract extension worth $50 million; and
  • Tried to build a team around the insanely awful “Big Three” of Nick Young, Andray Blatche, and JaVale McGee; and
  • Just in the first round of the 2011 draft alone, selected two of the worst players in NBA history, Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton; and
  • When his grand (dumbfuck) plan to lure Kevin Durant to D.C.—he cleared salary space by loading the roster with mercenary short-timers whose contracts all expired at the same time, with the predictable result that an up-to-then young and rising squad played like malcontented shit all season, missed the playoffs, and squandered all the momentum and goodwill they’d built over the previous two seasons—predictably failed, used the salary cap space he’d cleared to grant world-historically stupid long-term contracts to the nightmare dumpster triad of Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith, and Andrew Nicholson, locking the team into cap hell for at least a half-decade to come, during which, thanks to the many shortsighted trades he’s made over the years to save his own job in the ruin of previous appalling decisions, it’ll also be chronically short of draft picks; and
  • Let then-29-year-old locker-room lynchpin Trevor Ariza leave in free-agency after he played a huge role in a thrilling and successful 2014 postseason run; signed Paul Pierce to a one-year contract to replace him; let Pierce walk the following offseason; drafted Kelly Oubre Jr. in 2015 to be the wing of the future, then traded Oubre to the Phoenix Suns in 2018... for washed-up 33-year-old Trevor Ariza.
  • Signed 25-year-old Otto Porter to a max contract and traded him for flotsam and cap relief less than 20 months later; and
Advertisement, so, so much more. This barely scratches the surface! I’m not even gonna touch John Wall’s supermax extension, due to kick in next season, during which he’ll be rehabbing the Achilles tear that very well may have ended the productive part of his career. I am already grinding my teeth to powder, so that’s where I’ll stop.

In 16 years at the helm of the franchise, Grunfeld can lay claim to, at most, one unambiguously good move that wasn’t handed to him by a fortuitous lottery drawing: Signing Arenas away from the Golden State Warriors in 2003, right before Arenas blew up into a legitimate star. Wizards fans can’t even feel all that good about it, though, given that this decision led to Grunfeld eventually offering Arenas the worst contract in NBA history. There’s also the matter of Arenas, uh, bringing a gun to the locker room to intimidate a teammate who owed him money.


Choke off and destroy any even microscopically faint feelings of gratitude you might find yourself feeling at this moment toward owner Ted Leonsis, Wizards fans! He should have fired this fucking moron more than a decade ago. The team is in absolute ruins now, crippled for the foreseeable future by the accumulated mess of 16 years being run by a heedless nincompoop. The absolute best case for what’s left of the franchise in Grunfeld’s wake involves years and years and years of cleanup and restoration, and there’s no particular reason to expect Leonsis will hire anyone but the absolute worst possible candidate for the job.

With that in mind, congratulations to the Wizards on the hiring of their next team president: Roy Cohn.