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Grunfeld: Wizards weren't asked to write letters for Arenas

The sentencing memo Gilbert Arenas's defense team submitted to Judge Robert E. Morin last week contained 32 letters from people vouching for his character and charitable deeds.

There were letters from Arenas's father, the Mystics' Alana Beard, Wizards ball boy Andre McAllister, Wizards equipment manager Rob Suller and senior director of community relations Sashia Jones. But there weren't any from Ernie Grunfeld, Coach Flip Saunders or any of Arenas's current or former teammates or coaches. The absence of a support letter from the basketball operations side raised speculation about the organization distancing itself from Arenas and the possibility of the team looking into voiding the remainder of his $111-million contract. Wouldn't the team want to keep its most valued asset out of the slammer?

I asked Grunfeld why there wasn't a letter from him or anyone else from basketball management on Saturday and his answer was pretty simple. "I don't think anybody asked us to write a letter. Nobody came to us and asked us to write anything," Grunfeld said.

Arenas not asking for letters from the Wizards probably says more about what he felt about the organization at that time than anything else. But he should be pretty pleased with the Wizards right now. After all, they hooked him up with powerful attorney Kenneth Wainstein. You saw how that worked out.

By Michael Lee  |  March 29, 2010; 11:31 AM ET
 
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Next: Foye might be done for the season, Gee leaves for San Antonio

Comments

I hope after wizards go over the cap with a huge free agent signing they still have room for a midlevel exception and sign back roger mason.

Posted by: jefferu | March 29, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

FROM THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE:

Maybe this was a cap issue, but my guess is that any new contracts will slow down the selling of the team, and both parties want to finalize the deal.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 29, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Now THAT makes sense.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 29, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Gee was too athletic for management's tastes I guess. Perhaps if he'd gotten "sore" or played like a "glue" guy he'd have been picked up. All that dunking and defense wrote his ticket outta town apparently!

Posted by: divi3 | March 29, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

With Gee, I think what someone else said makes more sense. If the Spurs and Wiz offered you essentially the same deal....pick up your contract for the rest of the year and a non-guaranteed deal for next year, which he has earned.....which team are you going to sign with? Especially if you spent your time in the d-league training in their system? I don't think it said anywhere that we didn't offer him a deal, just that he chose to sign with the Spurs.

Plus, if he came up through the Spurs system, I'm sure they've been keeping tabs on him. Makes sense from their side to let the Wiz give him some burn to see if he can hang at this level.

Best of luck to him. Gonna miss his energy and athleticism.

This also plays into something I was talking about with Ted coming on board that they've done with the Caps. Figure out what kind of team you're going to be and draft and develop players that fit that mold. I don't yet have a great sense of what style Flip and Ernie want to play and the type of players they want. In the trades, they seemed to emphasize hustle guys. In the draft Ernie has a been a little all over the map, but most of his guys have been more 'long' than 'big'. Collectively they look like the 'before' pictures in the P90-X commercials.

If EG and Flip are the team going forward, or whoever it ends up being, they need to model themselves after what the Spurs organization has apparently done in establishing institutional excellence. It's a better model than LA, which has a draw in the city that DC can't quite match.

Posted by: ts35 | March 29, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"This also plays into something I was talking about with Ted coming on board that they've done with the Caps. Figure out what kind of team you're going to be and draft and develop players that fit that mold."

Ideally that's what every team should do before they start spending money on contracts.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Knowing that an ownership change is imminent, it makes no sense for the Wizards to be committing the team financially to players for next year until they know exactly what direction the new owner wants the franchise to take going forward.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

You guys are in luck. there is absolutely nothing interesting abotu the Wizards right now. We can all go back to being productive members of society and quit being the troglodyte fans of a moribound franchise in a sport of vastly overpaid circus freak criminals.

Posted by: Blurred | March 29, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Lol at the people calling for Grunfeld to be fired. He isn't going anywhere folks. He is considered one of the best GMs in all of basketball, whether the dimwits on here realize it or not.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 29, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

one of the best GMs in all of basketball?

How can he be considered one of the best in basketball after the last two seasons?

Every player other than BTH on this team was hand picked by Ernie?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 29, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think anybody asked us to write a letter. Nobody came to us and asked us to write anything," Grunfeld said.

...and I only do what I'm told to do since I don't have a brain that can think on it's own.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 29, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

...and I only do what I'm told to do since I don't have a brain that can think on it's own.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 29, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse


Even less interesting than the actual team.

Posted by: Blurred | March 29, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Knowing that an ownership change is imminent, it makes no sense for the Wizards to be committing the team financially to players for next year until they know exactly what direction the new owner wants the franchise to take going forward.

Posted by: kalo_rama

True enough, but offering a non-guaranteed contract to someone like Gee, or Livingston for that matter wouldn't cost them.

Posted by: ts35 | March 29, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

As if the news on Gee isn't depressing enough, combine it with the fact that Foye is out for the season, and we are looking at Earl Boykins for about 30 minutes a game the rest of season!
Whooopeee!

Posted by: bozomoeman | March 29, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"True enough, but offering a non-guaranteed contract to someone like Gee, or Livingston for that matter wouldn't cost them."

It wouldn't have gained them anything, either. The quote notes that part of the reason the Spurs signed Gee was to secure his presence for training camp/summer league. Well, the Spurs can afford to do that because their core is set. The Wizards isn't. Until they've made their prime moves over the summer (draft, free agency, trades) they won't know who or what kind of filler players they'll need.

Sorry, but Gee is hardly a great loss.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Knowing that an ownership change is imminent, it makes no sense for the Wizards to be committing the team financially to players for next year until they know exactly what direction the new owner wants the franchise to take going forward.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Your statement makes sense except it's clearly noted that his contract will NOT be guaranteed next year. Furthermore, even if it were, it would be a minimum deal and you need to sign players to fill out the roster anyways. So unless they keep the tradition of signing D-League players to 10-day contracts, which in itself, wouldn't be surprising considering Ernie is in charge, the negative financial ramifications of signing a player to a minimum deal are non-existent!

Posted by: Utilityman1 | March 29, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Lol at the people calling for Grunfeld to be fired. He isn't going anywhere folks. He is considered one of the best GMs in all of basketball, whether the dimwits on here realize it or not.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 29, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Some people really deserve to be Wiz fans. No wonder there is very little effort made to build a contender since fans are content with the current state of the team and are coroning a horrible GM job!

Posted by: Utilityman1 | March 29, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Your statement makes sense except it's clearly noted that his contract will NOT be guaranteed next year. Furthermore, even if it were, it would be a minimum deal and you need to sign players to fill out the roster anyways"

Exactly. And you can't "fill out" a roster until you actually have a roster. The Spurs core roster for next season is mostly set (with the exception of signing Ginobili). They're in a position where they can start to think seriously about fill-in-the-cracks role players. The Wizards are nowhere near in that position. There's a very real possibility that most of the players currently on this team (including the ones under contract) could be gone next season. Given that scenario, signing Gee in advance of any other moves would be pointless.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

that's assbackward thinking. The fact this team has no core and very little talent is a great reason to keep a guy like Gee in the mix. Any potentially quality player on the cheap is worth a look when the well is this dry.

Posted by: divi3 | March 29, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

At this point... our season is all about the PING PONG BALLS!!

Come on Wiz... let's keep the streak going.

Posted by: tony325 | March 29, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

If Gee is gone which the reports say that he is. Then Yes, Ernie needs to be fired. Yes sign Gee for the rest of the season and a min. contract for next. What he should have done with Livingston too. What we cant give Gee a million dollars for next year. The Wiz saved 15 million on Gil contract. Gee, Sigleton and Livingston was the only bright spots for this team.

Posted by: dsquare | March 29, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I hope after wizards go over the cap with a huge free agent signing they still have room for a midlevel exception and sign back roger mason.

Posted by: jefferu | March 29, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Roger Mason?????? He can't get off the bench and SA. The one thing anyone needs to remember about Roger Mason is 1-11 for in Game 4 against Cleveland. His time to shine and he goes 1-11. Please don't resign him.

Posted by: 33dgriffin | March 29, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"Sorry, but Gee is hardly a great loss."

Well, I'm no longer to use that 'Gee - Wiz' joke.

Not a great loss, admittedly.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 29, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. And you can't "fill out" a roster until you actually have a roster. The Spurs core roster for next season is mostly set (with the exception of signing Ginobili). They're in a position where they can start to think seriously about fill-in-the-cracks role players. The Wizards are nowhere near in that position. There's a very real possibility that most of the players currently on this team (including the ones under contract) could be gone next season. Given that scenario, signing Gee in advance of any other moves would be pointless.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Well Kalo, things got to start somewhere, don't they? There is no sacred rule that stipulates that rosters need to be filled with superstars first. And especially in this current situation where the likelyhood of signing a free agent star is close to 0.
The Wiz's main goal right now is to evaluate players to determine who is likely to stick and relatively contribute to a moribound team next year. Yes, Gee would not have been slated to be the franchise savior next year but signing an athletic rookie with good defensive skills to a minimum contract would have been a step in the right direction especially considering the other options (NY, Ross...) that play his position.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | March 29, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

......Given that scenario, signing Gee in advance of any other moves would be pointless.

Posted by: kalo_rama |

Given again you dont know what hell you are talking about!!! He would have taken the vet min. about 800 thousand dollars, thats a bargin for Gee. Every time you post you try to act like your smart but points just stupid!!!!

Posted by: dsquare | March 29, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

It wouldn't have gained them anything, either. The quote notes that part of the reason the Spurs signed Gee was to secure his presence for training camp/summer league. Well, the Spurs can afford to do that because their core is set. The Wizards isn't. Until they've made their prime moves over the summer (draft, free agency, trades) they won't know who or what kind of filler players they'll need.

Sorry, but Gee is hardly a great loss.

Posted by: kalo_rama

I take your general point Kalo, but hard to imagine a scenario where a cheap, very atheltic player, willing to play D, and who can hit an open shot isn't useful...and since it would have been a non-guaranteed contract, if he doesn't fit, you cut him.

It's moot because there's no reason for him to sign here instead of San Antonio, but in general, they should be looking to retain talent, especially if it ultimately wouldn't cost them anything.

Posted by: ts35 | March 29, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"Well Kalo, things got to start somewhere, don't they?"

Yes. And the time for the Wizards to start signing players for training camp is after they've made their primary movies over the summer in the draft, free agency, and trades. There's no urgency to lockdown a guy like Gee at this point. None.

"He would have taken the vet min. about 800 thousand dollars, thats a bargin for Gee."

Who said anything about "superstars"? No one of course, but the straw men must dance, right?

"es, Gee would not have been slated to be the franchise savior next year but signing an athletic rookie with good defensive skills to a minimum contract would have been a step in the right direction especially considering the other options (NY, Ross...) that play his position."

Who said anything about "franchise savior"? Man, those straw men are gettin' a workout today! As for Young and Ross, there's a very good chance that neither will be here next year, so the fact that Gee is better than two guys who basically stink isn't exactly a glowing recommendation. It's not like they missed out in a once-in-a-lifetime player. They can find someone as good or better than Gee in the draft (or, for that matter, in the D-League) without much effort. There was zero urgency for the Wizards to sign him now.

"He would have taken the vet min. about 800 thousand dollars, thats a bargin for Gee."

You're a an idiot. As I just finished explaining, in explicit detail in the very post you quoted, there are considerations other than just money.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"If Gee is gone which the reports say that he is. Then Yes, Ernie needs to be fired. "

See? Idiot.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Players like Gee are what good organizations HOPE to draft with the 14th-30th pick to develop to solid contributors. But here comes Ernie's magic again giving him up.
Now we go back to analyzing whom we should draft with the 30th pick. If you think that the 30th pick is automatically going to be better than Gee, you are either delusional or you don't know much about basketball.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | March 29, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Players like Gee are what good organizations HOPE to draft with the 14th-30th pick to develop to solid contributors. "

The fact that no team drafted him at all would seem to dispute that theory.

"If you think that the 30th pick is automatically going to be better than Gee"

Who said anything about "automatically better." Jesus man, let the straw men catch their breath!

Gee is nothing special. On a halfway decent team he's the 10th man. Maybe.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Yes. And the time for the Wizards to start signing players for training camp is after they've made their primary movies over the summer in the draft, free agency, and trades. There's no urgency to lockdown a guy like Gee at this point. None.

Again Kalo, you are a pretty eloquent writer and I am confident that you understand what "non-guaranteed contract" means. We wouldn't be locking him down.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | March 29, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

apparently he's special enough that the Spurs decided to sign him, but hey, what do they know.

Posted by: divi3 | March 29, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Gee is nothing special. On a halfway decent team he's the 10th man. Maybe.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

This is not a halfway decent team, that's why he is already better than what we currently have at that position.
Furthermore, just because he didn't get drafted doesn't mean the kid can't play. He has proven in a couple of weeks that he is better than every player your idol Ernie has drafted in the 1st round the past 5 years!
And Kalo, just because you have probably aced all your english classes doesn't necessarily mean that you know much about basketball or that your posts actually make sense.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | March 29, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"apparently he's special enough that the Spurs decided to sign him"

And, if he actually makes the team, he'll likely end up being their 10th man. Yeah, that's real "special."

"I take your general point Kalo, but hard to imagine a scenario where a cheap, very atheltic player, willing to play D, and who can hit an open shot isn't useful...and since it would have been a non-guaranteed contract, if he doesn't fit, you cut him."

Except, as you yourself pointed out, if the Wizards offered him the same non-guaranteed deal as the Spurs, odds are he would have taken the Spurs offer anyway. Which means the only way the Wiz could have kept him would have been to offer a guaranteed deal, to trump S.A. And that would have been a foolish move.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"This is not a halfway decent team, that's why he is already better than what we currently have at that position."

Except it doesn't matter what the Wizards "currently have" at any position, because there's a real possibility that none of them will be here when the season opens next year. So making a big deal out of keeping Gee because he's better than two scrubs who might well be on the first bus outta town makes little to no sense. He's not a priority on any level, and his loss isn't much of a loss at all.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Except, as you yourself pointed out, if the Wizards offered him the same non-guaranteed deal as the Spurs, odds are he would have taken the Spurs offer anyway. Which means the only way the Wiz could have kept him would have been to offer a guaranteed deal, to trump S.A. And that would have been a foolish move.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Again, if your idol Ernie had been proactive and signed him first, we wouldn't be talking about the Spurs wise man!

Posted by: Utilityman1 | March 29, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Except it doesn't matter what the Wizards "currently have" at any position, because there's a real possibility that none of them will be here when the season opens next year. So making a big deal out of keeping Gee because he's better than two scrubs who might well be on the first bus outta town makes little to no sense. He's not a priority on any level, and his loss isn't much of a loss at all.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 29, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

You epitomize exactly what's wrong with this team. The 2 scrubs that you already shipped out of town are under guaranteed contracts next year so unless you take junk back in return (which would make your point moot, just like 90% of all your posts), they will be here. And the notion that we shouldn't be signing high potential players to a minimum NON-GUARANTEED deal just because the team doesn't have foundation players yet is comical.

Posted by: Utilityman1 | March 29, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Except, as you yourself pointed out, if the Wizards offered him the same non-guaranteed deal as the Spurs, odds are he would have taken the Spurs offer anyway. Which means the only way the Wiz could have kept him would have been to offer a guaranteed deal, to trump S.A. And that would have been a foolish move.
Posted by: kalo_rama

Like I said, I generally agree that it makes no sense to sign him to guaranteed money, but your original thesis....

"Given that scenario, signing Gee in advance of any other moves would be pointless."

seemed to argue that there was no point in offering him any kind of contract, even non-guaranteed, without knowing what the rest of the team is going to look like, which I disagree with.

Hypothetically, if he would have signed here for what SA signed him for (which pretty much presumes that SA wasn't offering him any kind of deal), it would have been a solid move, all upside, no downside.

Again, as I said, it's moot. It would have been nice to retain his rights, but it's not going to make or break the team next year. Personally, I'd be inclined to make the same sort of non-guaranteed offer (if it has no actual cap ramifications) to Livingston, but I don't actually think that makes or breaks the team next year either. They have a long, long way to go.

Posted by: ts35 | March 29, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

You guys are in luck. there is absolutely nothing interesting abotu the Wizards right now. We can all go back to being productive members of society and quit being the troglodyte fans of a moribound franchise in a sport of vastly overpaid circus freak criminals.

Posted by: Blurred | March 29, 2010 1:08 PM |
Agree with everything you said except use word "athletes" instead of "criminals".

After all, just like the general population, NBA players are not all criminals. Most of them are regular guys like you and me, but get the temptation to do certain things a lot more often, and they can afford it.

Take any group of highly paid individuals, for example all the young rich traders on Wall St., or all the young guys in Silicon Valley who cashed in millions during the dot com heydays, and more than likely a few of those will have expensive cocaine habits, but not all.

Posted by: rickgonz | March 29, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

let see. letters or can,t lose lawyer. got can,t lose lawyer/ got the best deal to me

Posted by: lostdogrwd101 | March 29, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Mike, I'm not sure whether you are a mainstream beat reporter or Rhona Barrett with these gossippy type articles. But you don't seem to use much analytical thinking in this article. Knowing that david Stern suspended Gil for the season and made it clear that guns in the locker room and making light of the incident would not be tolerated by the NBA. PERIOD. Do you think that it would be appropriate or wise for the Wizards management to endorse Gilbert at his trial or sentencing?

Posted by: bobilly2 | March 29, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Lol at the people calling for Grunfeld to be fired. He isn't going anywhere folks. He is considered one of the best GMs in all of basketball, whether the dimwits on here realize it or not.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 29, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Some people really deserve to be Wiz fans. No wonder there is very little effort made to build a contender since fans are content with the current state of the team and are coroning a horrible GM job!

Posted by: Utilityman1 | March 29, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Show me ONE Wizards fan who is "content with the current state of the team." What a patently disingenuous and dishonest comment. But that was a pretty sweet straw man. Easy to knock down an opponent's argument when you completely invent their position.

I'm guessing you're not a very smart person. Am I right?

Posted by: Barno1 | March 29, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Then again, if you're demanding the Wizards get rid of one of the most respected GMs in all of basketball, that pretty much tells me all I need to know about your intelligence.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 29, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"Then again, if you're demanding the Wizards get rid of one of the most respected GMs in all of basketball, that pretty much tells me all I need to know about your intelligence."

Barno has no penis.

Grunfeld is NOT considered one of the best GM's in basketball and you making that statement shows how much you really know about the sport.

You said same thing about Vinny Cerrato.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | March 29, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Would everyone just STFU about "straw men" already!! When you use it over and over, it doesn't make you sound smart, it just sounds like you're obsessed with humping scarecrows or something.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | March 30, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Gilbert has no business out of jail, let alone in a Wiz uniform. Void the contract or find some sucker who will pick it up and clear more cap space.

Posted by: KDSmallJr | March 30, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

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