Wizards give general manager Ernie Grunfeld secret contract extension


From top down – all the way from owner Ted Leonsis to John Wall’s shoes – the Wizards were focused on making the playoffs this season.

It wasn’t just a goal. It was an organizational mandate. Jobs were on the line.

A job at least.

Coach Randy Wittman and general manager Ernie Grunfeld were believed to be in the final year of their contracts, a postseason berth likely to swing whether they would stay or go. But, without announcement, the Wizards apparently gave Grunfeld an extension on the contract that was set to expire this summer.

Mike Wise of The Washington Post on Grunfeld:

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.)

By getting the Wizards to the playoff, Grunfeld probably earned more time on the job. By assembling a team that reached the second round – and maybe even the conference finals – he probably deserved it.

But this is not how to build trust with fans.

Grunfeld, who has made plenty of blunders since taking over in 2003, had lost Wizards fans. He got some back with the team’s success this season, but plenty of fans remain ready to move on. Little did they know, that’s not even an option.

And where is Wittman’s trust level? Did he know about the extension, or was he under the presumption – like the rest of us – he and Grunfeld were facing this make-or-break year together?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with extending Grunfeld, but if the Wizards were so proud of their general manager that they wanted to keep him, they should have announced it.