Grunfeld: "The Pollins are running this team"
As the Wizards continue to disassemble their roster while the franchise is in the process of being sold, some fans have vocally wondered who is calling the shots, and how the various personnel moves will affect the team's eventual price tag. These are complicated questions whose answers will one day emerge via anonymous quotes in stories written by better reporters than I. In the meantime, Ernie Grunfeld was asked publicly on Tuesday whether either the Pollin family or the Leonsis group had input into last week's blockbuster trade.
"Well, obviously the Pollins are running this team and I report to them directly," he said, via Truth About It. "But I think this is the direction that we need to go in at this time. You know, this group was together for a long time. Last year and this year were not up to par, as far as expectations from our standpoint, so it's time to make some changes. And this was the first step in trying to do that."
I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be fascinated to hear Grunfeld's personnel-related conversations with the Pollin family. I'm equally sure Grunfeld will never be discussing those in front of cameras. If you've been reading the Wizards Insider over the past few weeks, you know that Grunfeld isn't in the habit of talking much about specific players, specific flaws, specific missteps or specific solutions. Still, he is the GM, so you can check out some of his thoughts above, via CSN Washington.
The best part, I suppose, came when WRC's Dan Hellie asked Grunfeld if it was tough for him personally to see the end of the Big Three, since he had wanted to win with that trio.
"Well, we have won with them," Grunfeld replied. "But everything has an end, and everything takes its course. The players tell us what to do by their performance and how well they play together and how much the team wins. It's really all about the wins and losses.
"We had a real nice run here for four years of making the playoffs. Last year, we had the injuries to Gilbert and Brendan, there's not much anybody can do about it. And this year was one of those years where we had high expectations. We made some trades in the offseason that we felt were gonna help us with Randy Foye and Mike Miller, and I think most people picked us to be one of the top four or five teams in the East and win between 45 and 50 games.
"And that just didn't happen for a variety of reasons. Obviously we had injuries early on to Antawn, Mike Miller, Randy Foye, and then the situation in the locker room didn't help us either, and now we don't have our best player for the remainder of the year. So a lot of things just happened that really were out of our hands, out of our control. But the bottom line is this: It's the NBA and you want to win and put the best possible team out there, and I just don't think this group was meshing very well. I thought we played selfish basketball, and we didn't win as much as we'd like to win."
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