Grunfeld Wasn’t Worried About Getting Fired
Newly re-signed Washington Wizards’ President, Ernie Grunfeld joined the Mike Wise Show Tuesday afternoon. The radio appearance on 106.7 The Fan came fresh off the heels of a press release from the basketball franchise that Grunfeld had just had his contract extended.
Widely regarded publicly as, if nothing else, a controversial decision to renew Grunfeld, neither the length of the new contract nor a dollar amount were disclosed in the press release.
A combined record of 86 – 224 over the last four seasons made many believe the team should not bring Grunfeld back next year. He says that he was never worried about losing his job.
“I was never really concerned about that. I’ve always felt like you work hard, you do the best job you can, you follow your game plan and good things will happen for you.”
Wise eases into the mining questions by asking Grunfeld how long he and Ted Leonsis had been in negotiations of a new deal. The team president was prepared for the peppering:
“We had a game plan a couple years ago really when he first bought the team, to build this team through the draft and accumulate assets and develop young players and talent and slowly add some veteran players to that roster.”
Wise followed up by asking how many years the contract was signed for, asking to specify if it was an extension for more than two years, but Ernie kept tight lips:
“Well that’s an internal matter and club policy states that we don’t talk about those kind of issues.”
Co-host Chris Johnson brought up some of the more questionable moves Grunfeld has been criticized for in recent years, including the extension to Gilbert Arenas to the massive contract and trading away the number 5 pick in 2009, each of which hung around the neck of the franchise like a boulder hanging over the edge of a cliff. He prodded Grunfeld about if departed owner Abe Pollin had pressured him to make these moves:
“Mr. Polin was more we want to win right now and then we had an incident that changed the course of this franchise, and Ted bought the team and Ted’s philosophy was completely different . . . We had to pivot in mid-stream so to speak, and change the philosophy and change the direction we were going in.”
To listen to Mike Wise’s full interview with Ernie Grunfeld, just press play here…