Ernie Grunfeld: "Obviously the Pollins are running this team and I report to them directly." | Wizards Blog Truth About

Ernie Grunfeld: “Obviously the Pollins are running this team and I report to them directly.”

Updated: February 16, 2010

Who is guiding the sinking ship that is the Washington Wizards more? The current owners or the potential owners (who also own a minority share of the Wizards)? Knowing that majority control of the team is currently in transition, spawned by the passing of Abe Pollin in November, that’s what’s on the minds of many fans.

The Ted Leonsis led group, Lincoln Holdings, owns 100% of the Washington Capitals and 44% of Washington Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards, the Verizon Center and the Baltimore-Washington Ticketmaster franchise. With the Abe Pollin estate/family still owning a majority of WS&E, and currently in disputed discussions with Leonsis on the sale of the team, it’s no surprise that Ernie Grunfeld, the Wizards team president of operations, said on Tuesday, “Obviously the Pollins are running this team and I report to them directly.”

Grunfeld must, however, be in a very tough situation. He can’t exactly work under the consultation of Leonsis, the successful owner of the Caps whom most fans can’t wait to take control of the Wizards. Grunfeld must remain loyal to those who hired him.

Imagine knowing you will likely have a new boss but not being able to impress him or her because you’re being hand-cuffed by your current boss. Something to consider the next time you disagree with any of the moves Grunfeld makes up to Thursday’s trade deadline and beyond. Still, Grunfeld should be fully on the hook for his maneuvering creativity, or lack thereof, and his ability to do the job for which he was hired.

“I think this is the direction that we need to go in at this time,” Grunfeld said, speaking of the trade he made with Dallas and the moves he might make before 3 pm on Thursday and into the summer. That the Wizards needed drastic change has been obvious since before Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton had a pissing contest with guns. But what’s not clear is if a fire-sale without receiving much in future assets (talent worth keeping or draft picks) was a necessity because of the market or a necessity because Grunfeld was told by the current owners to cut costs no matter the cost. And we may never know.

With the deal with the Mavericks, Grunfeld isn’t off to the best trade season start in the eyes of Wizards fans, especially since he couldn’t maneuver a pick nor Dallas’ trade exception, and managed to send “cash considerations” in Mark Cuban’s direction. But the judgment period on Grunfeld is still out. The trade deadline clock on this very website is counting down. Problem is, Big Ernie might not end up being around to help rebuild the house that he is currently torching to the ground.


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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • Dead GM Walking. Good Riddens. DC should have a huge celebration when the greedy Polin family no longer have any say in this basketball franchise.

  • ToNe

    Good riddens to the Pollin Family. But I’d keep the GM. I don’t think the Jamison’s contract nor Arenas near max deal were his calls. Only thing I fault him for, was resigning/matching offer for Etan Thomas and bidding against ourselves to retain Deshawn Stevenson after we already knew he was a knucklehead and a one dimensional starter.

    and if you are one dimenisional you better be motumbo or bruce bowen.

  • Dave

    As a lifelong Bullets/Wizards fan this is the worst time for this franchise in the 45 years I’ve cheered for this team. The house that Abe built has been burned to the ground in less than a week. The return value of these trades is like swapping your Corvette for a Yugo.