Ernie Grunfeld is No Longer President of the Washington Wizards

Ernie Grunfeld Washington Wizards (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Ernie Grunfeld Washington Wizards (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images) /

After 16 long season. the Washington Wizards announced today that Ernie Grunfeld has been relieved of his duties as president of the team.

Thankfully, the Washington Wizards waited until April 2. Breaking this news as a joke on April Fools Day would’ve just been cruel.

No jokes here, though. Folks, today is the day many Wizards fans have been waiting years for. Today, the Wizards announced that Ernie Grunfeld is no longer president of the team.

The Wizards will begin their search for a new president immediately. Senior Vice President Tommy Sheppard will serve as the interim president and will be among the candidates to replace Grunfeld. Last week, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that Boston Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren could also be among those the Wizards consider to replace Grunfeld.

Whoever the Wizards end up choosing will have a tall task from day one. Even though Grunfeld is gone from Washington, his fingerprints may remain on this team for some time. His seemingly never-ending series of poor trades, crappy contracts, and lost draft picks have the Wizards currently sitting in salary-cap hell. It’s a mess he’s now left for someone else to clean up.

Heading into free agency, the five players the Wizards have on contract for next year (John Wall, Bradley Beal, Ian Mahinmi, Dwight Howard, Troy Brown) will cost them over $89 Million in the 2019-20 season.

But getting someone else (anyone else!) in the driver’s seat for this summer is reason to be hopeful in Washington. Any good faith Grunfeld had built up by leading the Wizards out of the post-MJ era and building Death Row DC was gone long ago, as evidenced by Grunfeld’s secret contract extension. He simply couldn’t lead another rebuild.

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Hired prior to the 2003-2004 season, Grunfeld led the team to a 568-724 record in his 16 seasons as president, good for a .440 winning percentage. During those 16 seasons, the Wizards made the playoffs eight times, but never reached the Eastern Conference Finals. They also never won over 50 games.