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Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing

Moderators: LyricalRico, WizStorm, miller31time, nate33

IS IT TIME TO FIRE ERNIE GRUNFELD?

1) Yes, I believe it is time for EG to go now.
29
69%
2) Ted should let him go at the end of the season.
9
21%
3) No, Ted needs to give him more time..(DESPITE THE FACT ERNIE HAS BEEN GM SINCE 2003)
4
10%
 
Total votes : 42

Post#76 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:29 am by Benjammin

rockymac52 wrote:Some other quick hits from what I just looked up:

This summer 8 teams hired a new GM.
15 GMs have had their current position for 3 years or less (this being their 3rd season at most).


This is proof that the Wizards have kept Ernie Grunfeld for way too long. Most NBA teams demand results. The Wizards have not. Why does our organization accept mediocrity?


They don't accept mediocrity. They don't even get mediocrity. Mediocrity would be another 70+ wins over the last nine years. For me, mediocrity is .500. EG is far from that lofty goal.
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Post#77 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:31 am by closg00

A great series of posts by Rocky, thanks! I will only add that when Ernie's contract was up for renewal, no other teams is known to have attempted to scoop him up. Contrast that with what happened with the assistants from successful organizations - the Spurs etc, they all got courted.
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Post#78 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:03 am by Nivek

Knighthonor wrote:What I find funny is many of you Wizards fans at the start of the season, were saying how much this team would be a runner for the playoffs. So clearly, many of you agreed with EG's choices, to say something like that.

but now that it backfired, you all turned your back on EG, when many of you agreed with his decisions, by saying this team was a playoff team.

lol


In some cases, you're probably right. There are folks who approved of Ernie's moves, who are now highly critical.

In other cases, you're mistaking analysis for approval. I hated Grunfeld's offseason moves, but when projecting the team's record still came to the conclusion that they would win 37 games this season. Predicting that they'd be in contention for the 8th playoff spot wasn't approval of Grunfeld's roster moves, it was analysis that the moves he made gave them the possibility of getting to the playoffs.
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Post#79 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:22 am by Nivek

Rocky -- great series of posts. Here are some thoughts on a few of the candidates I'm familiar with:

  • Mike Zarren -- smart as hell numbers guy in Boston; one of the organizers for the Sloan stat conference
  • Tom Penn -- another numbers guy; really understands the salary cap
  • Mark Warkentein -- hired Dean Oliver as his director of quantitative analysis, but then traded Billups for Iverson
  • John Nash -- astonishing that Nash would be in consideration for any job considering how he basically ran three teams into the ground (Washington, Philadelphia, Portland); Wizards would actually be downgrading at GM if they replaced Grunfeld with Nash
  • David Morway -- not someone who'll blow folks away with his intellect or insight; I'd rather steal Kevin Pritchard from the Pacers
  • Troy Weaver -- really smart, has learned from Presti, very comfortable with numbers and statistical analysis

A couple names I'd add to the list based on my own conversations and dealings with them: Dean Oliver and Mitchell Butler. Dean, of course, is the Bill James of basketball. Smart as hell. Knows the game as a player. Actually worked as an old-fashioned sit-in-the-stands-and-take-notes scout.

Most Wiz fans know Butler as a player. I forget his title when they hired him, but his role was kind of a hybrid coaching/front office position. Smart and charismatic -- a superb communicator. Butler was also open to (and appreciative of) statistical analysis.

My personal top choices would be Weaver, Zarren or Oliver.
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Post#80 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:31 am by Chocolate City Jordanaire

rockymac52 wrote:
Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:There needs to be something done soon, but it will probably have to be an interim solution. The GM this team ends up with might be fully committed to another team.


I've commented on the topic of firing Ernie mid-season or waiting until after the season several times in the past few days, and I'm still torn. Obviously, if we know we're done with him, it makes sense for everyone involved to just get it over with and cut ties with him now. However, what we do after that isn't quite as clear. And I don't mean that in the sense of who we should hire to replace him, I mean that in the sense of whether to hire/promote an interim GM to finish out this season or to hire the long-term replacement GM mid-season. I'm still not sure where I stand.

If it is possible contracts-wise, in a legal sense, to hire our new GM, even though he currently holds another position with another NBA team, mid-season, then perhaps that's the right move. But I'm also concerned about how much of a mess things will be from an organizational structure standpoint if a mid-season hire from outside the organization is made. In an ideal situation, I'd like to be able to hire a new guy, and let him implement his policies and structure from day one, with no confusion. I'm afraid if someone is hired mid-season, and they want to make some large-scale organizational changes in the front office structure and strategy, that it may be hard to do "overnight". It would be much easier to do this in the offseason.

However, while it might take a new GM a longer time to fully implement his structure if he's hired mid-season than it would if he was hired in the offseason, I think it's pretty safe to say that those changes will probably be made sooner if they happen mid-season, as far as the ultimate end date of when they're all finalized and implemented. So again, I'm not sure what to think.

I'm inclined to think that I prefer hiring a new GM in the offseason, just so we can truly start fresh, and get the entire organization on the same page, from top to bottom. I feel like trying to do this mid-season will result in either 1. not making all of the changes the GM would ideally like to make, just because it's more complicated in-season and sacrifices need to be made or 2. all of the changes are made, but it leaves our entire organization in a mess for the duration of this season. I'm tired of all of the messes. For once, I want something to be "clean".

I see it as similar to hiring a new coach mid-season. Okay, your current coach isn't getting things done, and deserves to be fired come December or January. So you fire him. Seems logical and fair. Then you hire the guy that you see as best for the job from outside the organization. Makes sense (ALTHOUGH, I'd like to quickly add that I feel like we'd limit the pool of potential replacements - either coaches or GMs - simply by doing it mid-season because they're likely already busy with their current team, and don't want any distractions, as they're thinking about their current job/team, and not their potential future with us). But this new coach you hire has an entirely different system. His system is better, and it will make our team a lot better, but there are a lot of drastic changes that will need to be made. How can you reasonably expect this coach to show up mid-season and quickly (if not immediately) make all of these big changes, teaching the new system to the players to the best of his ability, while also continuing to coach and compete in the current season?!? It seems next to impossible.

In that regard, I'm curious as to the history of success with mid-season interim head coaches. How many end up doing well? How many kept the job past that year? How many ran completely different systems than their predecessor?

I don't want to try and take any shortcuts. If we're done with Ernie, then I want a fresh face, who sees and does things differently. And I want to give that guy the opportunity to implement what he believes in the RIGHT way, which feels like the offseason to me.


rocky, your posts are terrific. I agree that ideally, a new GM hire would best be made in the off-season. However, I think it would be best to cut ties with Ernie ASAP.

What I would do is very simple:

1. If Bob Ferry is in good health and mind, I would fire Grunfeld and name Bob Ferry as interim GM.

This is somewhat of an in-house hire. I would keep Tommy Sheppard but I wouldn't name him GM. I would interview other candidates in the off-season and Sheppard would be given consideration. (I have one other candidate I prefer.)

Ferry's role would be loosely defined and he would be a consultant whose suggestions and advice would be welcome, but he wouldn't necessarily have the keys to the kingdom. He would be an agent of change for the better, as Ted sees fit.

2. Along with Ernie Grunfeld I would fire Ed Tapscott.

3. I would give Wittman until All Star break, virtually no matter what, before any coaching change was made.

What the Wizards need to do is move another direction ASAP from Ernie Grunfeld, but to keep the infrastructure pretty much in place. Wait and see how John Wall and Nene's health play out. Be happy that both Ariza and Okafor are putting up respectable numbers, and will be decent trade assets despite the currently bad record. Also, don't trade Vesely or any other young players aside from possibly Booker and definitely Crawford if deals are presently offered.

I think Crawford is an EXCELLENT player to trade. I would also strongly consider trading Booker. I would NOT trade Seraphin. I think Vesely is better than most do. Much better. I would wait and see. Chris Singleton is playing dramatically better this season. Vesely is sill very young.

My move would simply be to relieve Ernie and Tapscott for now, and to try to engender hope. Bob Ferry could do that.
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Post#81 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:03 am by Chocolate City Jordanaire

Nivek wrote:Rocky -- great series of posts. Here are some thoughts on a few of the candidates I'm familiar with:

  • Mike Zarren -- smart as hell numbers guy in Boston; one of the organizers for the Sloan stat conference
  • Tom Penn -- another numbers guy; really understands the salary cap
  • Mark Warkentein -- hired Dean Oliver as his director of quantitative analysis, but then traded Billups for Iverson
  • John Nash -- astonishing that Nash would be in consideration for any job considering how he basically ran three teams into the ground (Washington, Philadelphia, Portland); Wizards would actually be downgrading at GM if they replaced Grunfeld with Nash
  • David Morway -- not someone who'll blow folks away with his intellect or insight; I'd rather steal Kevin Pritchard from the Pacers
  • Troy Weaver -- really smart, has learned from Presti, very comfortable with numbers and statistical analysis

A couple names I'd add to the list based on my own conversations and dealings with them: Dean Oliver and Mitchell Butler. Dean, of course, is the Bill James of basketball. Smart as hell. Knows the game as a player. Actually worked as an old-fashioned sit-in-the-stands-and-take-notes scout.

Most Wiz fans know Butler as a player. I forget his title when they hired him, but his role was kind of a hybrid coaching/front office position. Smart and charismatic -- a superb communicator. Butler was also open to (and appreciative of) statistical analysis.

My personal top choices would be Weaver, Zarren or Oliver.


Kevin, I feel strongly that Weaver is the OBVIOUS choice.

If I could write the script to how this plays out it would be:

1. Ernie steps down of his own volition. Call it medical issues or he would like to pursue other matters. No need to fire a man after Ted just re-upped him. It was the wrong move, but Ernie and Ted have to be pretty tight. That was the problem in the first place IMO. They can stay buds, but dude needs to relinquish the job gracefully, IMO.

2. Weaver is currently in best position to take over for Presti, should the James Harden trade force him out. OKC fans are hot about that deal, but I think owner Clay Bennett is probably still in his corner. I think the Wizards need to move immediately to get Weaver, but it would be unrealistic to expect him to bolt now. I think the move would be to leak interest in hiring Troy Weaver the day the season ends for OKC. But in the meantime, why not have an acting/interim GM? Suggest Bob Ferry.

3. I want Weaver so badly, that I haven't considered Zarren or Oliver.

4. I want Dave Joerger to be the next coach, and I think having Bob Ferry as GM just long enough to hire that next coach is the way I would proceed.

This is really an EASY fix. Washington has enough to compete or to trade away and be elite in 24-36 months IMO. You can say that about virtually any team. Just look at Charlotte.

--Weaver is ideal to be the next GM.
--Joerger is beyond ideal to be the next coach.

Said this months back, BTW.

PS -- JOHN NASH -- Nivek, one thing I can say is the man would return correspondence. Back in the days well before Al Gore gave us email, I wrote a letter to Nash (during the LaPhonso Ellis/Tom Gugliotta draft year). Nash hand wrote and returned the letter. I can't get too down on the man. Turns out Googs was a good pick. (I wanted Ellis and mentioned liking Googs among others).
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Post#82 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:06 am by Spence

I think at this point it is pretty clear Leonsis and Grunfeld are in some sort of murder-suicide pact.
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Post#83 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:14 am by queridiculo

Spence wrote:I think at this point it is pretty clear Leonsis and Grunfeld are in some sort of murder-suicide pact.


That's the only logical conclusion isn't it?

Let's consider that Washington was in a near perfect situation for a complete reboot. Minimum salary commitments, a couple of legit NBA talents and a lottery pick to boot.

Given Grunfeld's track record with Washington, and his previous body of work, how could anybody justify to let the incumbent be in charge with the overhaul?

What in God's name did Leonsis see from this team that made him hopeful that Grunfeld would do anything but find a way to bury this franchise yet again?

The dead money from the Blatche's amnesty and the firing of Saunders alone should have been enough to get Grunfeld fired, but somehow he ends up with an extension?

It blows the mind really.
..let's keep in mind that while the Wizards were trading for Okafor and Ariza, giving away a draft pick and cap room, bypassing the free agent market and rejecting a trade for Harden, Leonsis was publicly congratulating himself for being smart. - Nivek
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Post#84 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:29 am by Chocolate City Jordanaire

hermitkid wrote:
Spence wrote:I think at this point it is pretty clear Leonsis and Grunfeld are in some sort of murder-suicide pact.


That's the only logical conclusion isn't it?

Let's consider that Washington was in a near perfect situation for a complete reboot. Minimum salary commitments, a couple of legit NBA talents and a lottery pick to boot.

Given Grunfeld's track record with Washington, and his previous body of work, how could anybody justify to let the incumbent be in charge with the overhaul?

What in God's name did Leonsis see from this team that made him hopeful that Grunfeld would do anything but find a way to bury this franchise yet again?

The dead money from the Blatche's amnesty and the firing of Saunders alone should have been enough to get Grunfeld fired, but somehow he ends up with an extension?

It blows the mind really.


I've posted this before. They are Romanian-American and Greek American, both living the American dream. They're both around the same age. Ted is from Brooklyn. Ernie's family immigrated to Forrest Hills, Queens. They are New Yorkers. Ernie was a star HS player from not far away. They have MUCH in common and probably a great deal of mutual respect.

From a business standpoint, Ernie was loyal to the Pollins. When Arenas messed up Ernie and Ted were on the same page, very apparently, as to how to proceed. Before Ted resigned Grunfeld, Arenas has been traded for a very solid dude, Rashard Lewis. One year came off the deal to boot. That transaction saved money and gave Leonsis reason to have all faith in Ernie. When that went down (the money part) I felt like Ernie saved his job with this owner.

They have a LOT in common. Ernie follows orders and is a loyal guy IMO. I can see why Ted re-signed him.
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Post#85 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:50 am by sashae

FWIW, Grunfeld was fired as the Knicks GM in the '98-99 season, halfway through the year, so it's not unprecedented. I'd personally like to see Grunfeld fired earlier rather than later, to give the new GM proper time to evaluate the team as a whole. Yes, you can watch film and check stats in the offseason, but I do still believe in the eye test as well -- and just being around the team/locker room as a whole. I'd love to have momentum going into next year (and not momentum of the 'bag-of-flaming-feces-thrown-off-a-bridge' type.)
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Post#86 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:54 pm by Higga

I don't know who the top candidates are, I just want a young hungry up and comer who is a top lieutenant on a winning organization(by that standard, Weaver would be a perfect). I am so sick of old retreads who are coming off failure.
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Post#87 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:00 pm by closg00

I just had a horrible thought. What if Ernie is fired and Ed Tapscott is "promoted" internally to the GM position?
That would be a Ted move, a move to not rock the boat too-much. *shudders*
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Post#88 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:52 pm by rockymac52

Troy Weaver definitely has to be up on our list (I hope), if not the clear frontrunner. There's no denying that the Spurs and Thunder have been successfully breeding front office executives left and right in the past few years. So it should come as no surprise that Presti's right hand man is widely sought-after. But from what I've read about Weaver, he seems like a perfect fit.

He's had experience on a championship-caliber team. He's young, and he seems highly motivated to succeed at the highest level. What I was surprised to learn about Weaver, was that he has some serious ties to the DC area. He played basketball at and graduated from Prince George's Community College. He co-founded and coached a DC AAU team, the DC Assault. As an assistant coach at Syracuse, he played a large role in recruiting Carmelo Anthony, thanks to his DMV connection. From what I've gathered, he currently lives in Upper Marlboro. I haven't found any information about this, but I think it's safe to assume that he grew up in the DC area as well.

He's been interviewed for several recent GM openings, and was reportedly the Jazz's #1 choice for GM this summer, but he turned down the job, even though he began his NBA career with the Jazz and their former GM and now the man who runs the show and hires the GM, Kevin O'Connor. Weaver has made it very clear that his goal is to one day be a GM, so it's a little surprising that he would turn down that job. It makes you think that he's waiting for the perfect opportunity to come along. Are the Washington Wizards that perfect opportunity that he's waiting for? He very well could have grown up a Bullets fan. He clearly has love for the District of Columbia still. I think he may have his sights set on this job, and I hope we give it to him!
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Post#89 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:56 pm by rockymac52

I also really like the idea of Dean Oliver. I don't think I've ever heard his name mentioned as a GM candidate before, but obviously he has some experience in the front office, and it goes without saying that he's one of the more progressive and forward-thinking basketball minds in the game today. If you haven't read his book, Basketball On Paper, you seriously need to. After I read it for the first time I realized that everything that I thought I knew about the NBA was grossly inaccurate.
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Post#90 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:45 pm by hands11

Lets see. He signed a two year contract around May this year, right.

So that puts the count down at around 18 mouths.
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Post#91 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:07 pm by Dat2U

hands11 wrote:Let see. He signed a two year contract around May this year, right.

So that puts the count down at around 18 mouths.


I don't think I can be that patient. But I also don't think Ernie has 18 months to turn this around.
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Post#92 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:19 pm by AFM

That's 18 months until Ted gives him another extension.
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Post#93 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:52 pm by Chocolate City Jordanaire

I just want to say before I take a sabbatical from posting I apologize to anyone I have offended.

I apologize for name calling, insulting the intelligence of, or assuming I know what goes on behind closed doors with Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld.

I don't take back anything I said, believing to be the truth, no matter how painful. However, I am reminded that compassion and grace serves everyone well. I don't need to gossip or put down people, but rather I need to promote what I think are good/better ideas.
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Post#94 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:59 pm by montestewart

Chocolate City Jordanaire wrote:I just want to say before I take a sabbatical from posting I apologize to anyone I have offended.

I apologize for name calling, insulting the intelligence of, or assuming I know what goes on behind closed doors with Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld.

I don't take back anything I said, believing to be the truth, no matter how painful. However, I am reminded that compassion and grace serves everyone well. I don't need to gossip or put down people, but rather I need to promote what I think are good/better ideas.

Your semi-annual sabbatical? I don't recall you saying anything that harsh, but whatever. Go in peace, my son.
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Post#95 Re: Countdown to Ernie Grunfeld Firing
Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:46 am by omegatronic3

EG must go now....no question about it...I cant think of any argument for him not to be fired. This franchise cant afford to waste another draft on his horrible picks.

Even with a full healthy roster this team is going nowhere.

The best he ever did was make us a skin of our teeth 8th seed.
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