Ernie Grunfeld Rumors

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Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed guards Vander Blue, Xavier Silas and David Stockton, forwards Rasual Butler and Damion James and center Daniel Orton. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not released. Blue (6-4, 200) went undrafted in 2013. The Marquette alum signed a 10-day contract with the Boston Celtics on January 22, 2014 and appeared in three games, scoring a total of five points in a combined 15 minutes. While on assignment with the Delaware 87ers of the D-League last season, he appeared in four games and averaged 19.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 30.5 minutes.
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Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld – After saving Ted Leonsis almost $100 million during a reputation-swallowing rebuild, the ErnDog showed he stills knows how to build a contender. No other GM observes Earth Day like Ernie, who is able to recycle trash into Trevor Ariza. Getting Marcin Gortat for Emeka Okafor before the season . . . brilliant. Andre Miller as a rent-a-vet? Solid. Oh, and who knew he had another year left on his deal after this season that no one knew about until now (That’s right, a little news for you.)
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Leonsis declined to comment on the futures of Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld and Coach Randy Wittman. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about people’s contracts when you’re in the playoffs,” Leonsis said. “What I’ve said all along, and what I’ll say is, I only can worry about what I’m dealing with on a one-to-one basis with management. When we bought the Wizards not even four years ago, I made the assessment that there was less risk in blowing the team up and starting from scratch than there was in trying to build around it. “We had lots of conversations with Ernie and Ernie was very, very straightforward with me, which was, ‘Well, I can guarantee you that you’re going to be really, really bad.’ We played five rookies the first year that we owned the team. We had five starting players who were rookies. We weren’t trying to tank; we just had so many first-year players. … Everyone in the organization has done a good job, but it starts with the players, and then the coach.”
The Wizards had lofty expectations for returning to the playoffs this season, and given how bad the East is, it’s too early to discount them in that endeavor. But with a 4-7 record, the results have been mixed so far, to put it kindly. League sources wonder how long GM Ernie Grunfeld can remain in self-preservation mode. Speaking of self-preservation, continued struggles in Washington would put coach Randy Wittman in a race with the coach of our next team in the Misery Index to see who will be the first coach to be fired this season.
Leonsis inherited a mess with the Wizards, and he’s embarked on a rebuilding process similar to the one that brought the Capitals out of the doldrums. But the Wizards were a combined 86 games under .500 over the last three NBA seasons, and eventually the longsuffering fans need to get their payoff. It’s worth noting that both team president Ernie Grunfeld and coach Randy Wittman are in the final year of their contracts.
Bernard King says he dealt with racism off the court that included clashes with police while starring for Tennessee in the 1970s. In an ESPN “30 for 30″ documentary airing today, King said that former Volunteers coach Ray Mears warned him that he’d heard some local officers would “do anything to get him.” King, the first former Tennessee player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, cites one incident in which he says an officer hit him in the head with the butt of his gun while responding to a loitering report. The documentary, “Bernie and Ernie,” focuses on the friendship of King and ex-college teammate Ernie Grunfeld.
“I’m tired of losing. It’s not a lot of fun coming to games knowing, ‘This is going to be a tough night.’ We’re just at that point now, it’s the fourth year, we’ve retained our players, we’ve added players, we’ve spent a lot of money. And I expect us to be a playoff-caliber team. I think our fan base expects that too and that’s the pressure I’ve placed on our organization, that we have to meet the expectations of our fans — and it’s time.” — Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, to local reporters, throwing down the gauntlet for his team to improve upon its dismal showings of the last few years. Both general manager Ernie Grunfeld and coach Randy Wittman are entering the final years of their respective contracts.
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“I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it,” Leonsis said. “I’ll have to see what the circumstances are, just like we do with every team, and every owner does. How does the season turn out and what happened? But certainly right now, I’m very very happy with the job the front office has done. “Ernie on the hot seat?” asked Owens, who has a lot more chuztpah than I do. “We’re all on the hot seat,” Leonsis answered. “I’m on the hot seat. If the ratings aren’t good, you’ll be on the hot seat, too. I mean, we live in very accountable businesses, and we’re all accountable.”
Prior to the draft, Grunfeld said the Wizards might already have a player capable of being a “stretch four” already on the roster. The summer league will serve as an important time for both Vesely and Singleton to distinguish themselves as they head into possibly their final seasons in Washington. The Wizards also have the expiring contracts of Okafor ($14.5 million) and Ariza ($7.7 million) to use as trade chips for possible upgrades, as well. “We expect to have everybody back,” Grunfeld said, “but having said that, if the right opportunity comes along, it’s something that we’ll look at, but right now we expect to have everybody that we have on the roster currently, and we are having conversations as we move along like every team is.”
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Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has re-signed forward Martell Webster. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released. “Martell’s versatility and shooting ability combined with his experience and leadership make him a valuable part of our team,” said Grunfeld. “We are very pleased to have him back both on the court and in the locker room and look forward to his continued contributions to our success.”
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The day before he agreed to remain with the Wizards, Martell Webster was at relative ease. He spoke briefly with Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld on Monday but left the negotiations up to his agent, Dan Fegan, and even took some time catch the new Superman movie, “Man of Steel,” at the Gallery Place theater next to Verizon Center. “No stress. No stress,” Webster said of his emotions during the free agent recruiting period in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “I’ve been blessed to play this game. I was never worried about basketball. I always knew that if I take care of what I need to take care of, things will fall into place. And they did.”
Coach Randy Wittman and GM Ernie Grunfeld have said they don’t want to add three rookies to the 2013-14 roster, meaning they would like to explore dealing at least one pick, maybe both in the second round, in a package for a veteran. According to persons with knowledge of the situation, the Wizards will bring in about six players each day through Friday. Six is the maximum teams are allowed. CSN has confirmed some of the names. Lottery picks such as Otto Porter (Georgetown), Victor Oladipo (Indiana) and Ben McLemore (Kansas), who could be available when the Wizards pick No. 3 overall, will not be among this first wave but could come here the following week.
The following statement is from Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld on behalf of the team: “We are extremely proud of Jason and support his decision to live his life proudly and openly. He has been a leader on and off the court and an outstanding teammate throughout his NBA career. Those qualities will continue to serve him both as a player and as a positive role model for others of all sexual orientation.”
Ernie Grunfeld: “I think Martell Webster played very well for us. He had a very good year. He was a free agent, and he was very good value for us, but not only was he valuable on the court, he was one of the better 3-point shooters, he stretches the defense, and it complements John and Nene both. But he’s also a good presence in the locker room, and he had nice leadership to him. obviously, he’s a free agent, and at the appropriate time, we’ll sit down with his representatives to see if we can work out something that works for him and works for us.”
More than three years after Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld granted his request to join a championship contender and traded him to Cleveland in the aftermath of a horrendous season that included the death of Wizards owner Abe Pollin and the gun fiasco, Jamison admits that he wishes he had handled the situation in Washington differently. “I regret it,” Jamison said. “Ernie came to me and said, ‘You deserve it. I want to do what’s best for you.’ I was frustrated. That was a tough year. But I wish I would’ve stuck it out the duration of my contract, because if it wasn’t for D.C., I don’t think I’d be where I am at professionally. They gave me that opportunity, from Ernie and Eddie Jordan and Mr. Pollin. They gave me that captain [title]. . . . That was my family.
On the role improved health has played in the turnaround: “I think it’s shown that when [we] got healthy our record got a lot better. Not only our record, but the way [we] played got better and our competitive attitude and the way we played the game got better. Twenty games is a short sample, but it shows you something. For a guy like John to come back after not having played four months, he still has a little bit of rust on him and he’s getting that off of him. He’s been very competitive and he’s made players around him better. Bradley is going into the second half of the year. He has 40, 50 games under his belt, His game has risen a little bit, he’s been more consistent, he’s learning. But he still has a lot of work ahead of him just like all our players do. Nene still having a little nagging injury here and there, but he’s been out there battling. [Emeka] Okafor’s been consistent. A lot of positive things have happened but by no means are we satisfied with where we are.”
Ernie Grunfeld on what changed after acquiring Crawford two years ago from Atlanta: “Jordan, nothing really changed. He had some good moments, but the way we’re playing now is a lot different than then. Now we’re a defensive oriented team and our numbers especially over the last 20 games have shown that we’re one of the top defensive teams in the league. The ball movement has been really good recently and that’s helped us win some games. The players are playing the right way and trying to execute. They’ve been supportive of one another and it just seems like it wasn’t the perfect fit for Jordan at this time.”