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).
Thanks, Ernie Grunfeld.
Brooks played Mahinmi, Smith, and Bogdanovic at the same time. Wonder why the Wizards lost momentum at that time?