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Deal finalized for sale of Wizards (Updated)

From The Post's Breaking News blog:

The Abe Pollin family has finalized a deal with Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis to sell him the family's share of the Washington Wizards and Verizon Center, the family announced in a statement today.

More details to come.

1:50: The Pollin family has now issued a statement. It reads in part:

"We join our mother Irene, the sole principal owner of the franchise today, in congratulating Ted Leonsis and his Lincoln Holdings partners on reaching this near-final step in a long negotiation," according to a statement from Robert and James Pollin, sons of the late sports entrepreneur. The sons said they and their mother, Irene, "look forward to them enjoying many years of success on the court and in the community with this wonderful franchise."

Here's a link to what The Post's Thomas Heath has reported so far.

By Alexa Steele  |  April 27, 2010; 1:43 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ex-Wizards get fresh start
Next: Ted Leonsis steps closer, ex-Wizards step up

Comments

Okay, hoping for the best going forward!

Posted by: millineumman | April 27, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

LEONSIS????

That guy can't even get the NHL's 'best team' out of the first round!!

I keed, I keed ze Caps fans!

Posted by: ts35 | April 27, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The Abe Pollin family has finalized a deal with Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis to sell him the family's share of the Washington Wizards and Verizon Center

Hallelujah

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | April 27, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Hallelujah

Goodbye Ernie.

Posted by: anacostia85 | April 27, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"LEONSIS????
That guy can't even get the NHL's 'best team' out of the first round!!"

They got out of the first round last year in game 7 and they will do the same this year.

Posted by: jefferu | April 27, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Goodbye and good riddance to Ernie who has been the architect behind what has become the worse franchise in the NBA. Let's hope that Ted could find a GM of the quality of George McPhee to start the rebuilding of the team this offseason.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 27, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Rough crowd. No matter what you may have of thought about the Pollins as far as the Wizards go, they did one hell of a lot for the city of DC and for that they have my utmost respect. I feel a little melancholy about it but it is time for a change. Hopefully, we as Wiz fans will finally see some semblance of a real team. Good luck and Godspeed to the Pollins and welcome to Leonsis. Go Caps!

Posted by: ivyleague | April 27, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Change is always good when you're as moribund as the wizards franchise, however I don't expect big things from Ted initially. My hope is we keep the young fellas we have intact for at least another season under Flip's tutelage....and throw John Wall into the mix after winning the lotto

Posted by: divi3 | April 27, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

of course, if we win the lotto, Ted can rightfully claim that's the first big thing from his regime!

Posted by: divi3 | April 27, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Abe Pollin for the charitable things he did and for building the phone booth. Goodbye to Ernie though.

Posted by: anacostia85 | April 27, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Good bye Ernie!!! You traded the 5th pick for 2 free agents, passed on Dejuan Blair, continually changed the SG spot so no consistently could be maintained, and so many other failures.

I don't know that you have the skill set to operate with the deepest free agent class in recent history and rebuild a contender in Washington. The team was blown up and I feel it's time for you to go as well. Good luck elsewhere!

Posted by: Gooddad | April 27, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Abe & his family did a lot for the DC area. But change is growth.
The Wizzies have a lot of growing to do in order to be a contender any time soon.
Good luck Ted.

Posted by: VBFan | April 27, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Pure foolishness to not see that bloggers opinions are just that. Where is the responsibility in drafting as a blogger. What are the consequences... Oops sorry I was wrong ,maybe???
If you have never been in a postion of authority with all of it's ramifications. Without knowing all of the actual facts and considerations and concerns, such as our GM, than I propose that even if you suggested otherwise at the time, it is indeed hindsight and even worse Ill informed'!!!
So let's give the new owners the time and best wishes for a long and successful run. We all need it and want it, yes?

Posted by: mricklen | April 27, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"Hallelujah

Goodbye Ernie."

I sure hope so.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | April 27, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

i understand the whole hinsight is 20/20 deal. But come on man, some of us were just right. Maybe we were ill informed b/c we don't have EG's expertise, but something didn't pass the smell test. Whether it was the Wiz coming back with the same exact team +McGee 2 seasons ago, or the hiring of Flip and the subsequent expectations, or even the trade 2 days before the draft, some of us called BS and some of us went along with it. Whichever camp you're in, don't diminish the fact that people stated their "ill informed" opinions before the season started and those concerns came to fruition. Nobody's claiming to be the foremost bball authority simply because they predicted failure. More so we are questioning the performance of someone who predicted success (50 wins,playoffs,title contender) and provided a second consecutive season of misery for wiz fans (some of whom thought they saw it coming).

A lot of people on here questioned the trade,FA signings and the selection of Flip as the HC. All of those things are still big question marks. Will Flip be back? while a lot of people say of course he's back, but a new owner might wanna go in another direction. How'd the draft day trade work out for ya? Well MM's numbers dropped (except for 1 pt scoring increase)in almost every category following a carrer low season in Minny despite this being the last year of his contract, and Foye played himself out of a job befoer getting hurt. Both may leave this summer.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | April 27, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

To Mr. Leonsis:
Don't worry about keeping anything. There's nothing worth keeping. Don't be worried about starting completely fresh.

Posted by: mcjr | April 27, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

To Mr. Leonsis:
Don't worry about keeping anybody. There's nothing worth saving, if you don't want to save. Don't worry about starting completely fresh.

Posted by: mcjr | April 27, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I think lil pretty much has it right. Some people looked at the team and saw a contender (a lot of bball media thought they were #4 in the East) and some saw a steaming pile. Unfortunate kudos to the crowd that saw the steaming pile. Anyone's take on the RF / MM trade was probably predicated to some extent on how they thought the team was going to do. For reference, I thought they were a 45-50 win team, but still a first round exit from the playoffs (not enough size, not enough D). I was ok with the trade because I thought it added needed depth. Which it might have, had the rest of the team not imploded around them.

The hiring of Flip never wowed me (but I do think he's a solid coach) and I have mixed feelings about EG (he's done some good things, some bad). We'll see what Ted does with the team going forward. Given the money owed to Flip, and no expectation that the team is going to be contending next year, I expect Flip to stay, either getting axed during next year or after it unless the team plays well.

With EG, I think it partly depends on what Ted thinks of him, and partly on how ever much time Ted has to look at other candidates and who's out there (and willing to come).

Posted by: ts35 | April 27, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

i was thrilled when they hired Flip, by mid-Dec thought he was astoundingly overrated and part/parcel to the pile of dung the team was. However ever since the AB incident there was a noticeable change, and I would like to see him here another year in the hopes his attitude towards AB, JM, and NY remains the same (and theirs towards him). To me it looks like he sees some promise in them, hopefully it translates to further development.

Posted by: divi3 | April 27, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Hooray! Thank you Pollin family, and welcome to new management!

On another note: It looks like the Senate will soon pass a law that will strike D.C.'s gun laws off the books, and will result in Arenas' being convicted for something that will no longer be forbidden: having an unregistered handgun (bringing it into line with its neighbors Maryland and Virginia).

It has bipartisan support.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-breaking-news/dc/us-sens-want-to-repeal-dc-gun.html

Posted by: rickgonz | April 27, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness the deal is finally done!

Now Leonsis gets to formally announce that Ernest Grunfeld is his guy for now and the next several years. My guess is he'll get that raise bulletsfan78 keeps bring up. Yes!!!

That chant you hear getting louder and louder is:

"In Grunfeld We Trust!!"

Posted by: melodious_thunk | April 27, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I think lil pretty much has it right. Some people looked at the team and saw a contender (a lot of bball media thought they were #4 in the East) and some saw a steaming pile. Unfortunate kudos to the crowd that saw the steaming pile. Anyone's take on the RF / MM trade was probably predicated to some extent on how they thought the team was going to do. For reference, I thought they were a 45-50 win team, but still a first round exit from the playoffs (not enough size, not enough D). I was ok with the trade because I thought it added needed depth. Which it might have, had the rest of the team not imploded around them.

The hiring of Flip never wowed me (but I do think he's a solid coach) and I have mixed feelings about EG (he's done some good things, some bad). We'll see what Ted does with the team going forward. Given the money owed to Flip, and no expectation that the team is going to be contending next year, I expect Flip to stay, either getting axed during next year or after it unless the team plays well.

With EG, I think it partly depends on what Ted thinks of him, and partly on how ever much time Ted has to look at other candidates and who's out there (and willing to come).

Posted by: ts35 | April 27, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

TS i can dig everything you're saying, but i never coulda signed on with that 50 game prediction. I mean the celts, added Rondo,KG and Ray allen + big baby and powe when they won the title and set the record for biggest turnaround from one season to the next with a 42 game turnaround, but to expect the wiz to make a similar turnaround (from 19 gms to 50 or 31 wins) seemed completely crazy given that the wiz didn't add a top 50 all time talent and a possible hall of famer, or a top draft choice.

But you are correct, anyone who was "right" in their predictions about the teams shortcomings had the misfortune of having to sit through each game and watch the wheels come off.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | April 27, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

There were a lot of us in the 45-50 win bunch.
After the first game against Dallas I was feeling good about a 50 win season.
After 20-25 games I still had hope but it slowly faded with the losses & no teamwork. Hurts to remember it.
Ted has a lot of work to do. Maybe he'll break the "CURSE" & get a new name & new unis.
This team is due.
Let the dreaming begin.

Posted by: VBFan | April 27, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes the naysayers were right.

Seriously though. It's laughable to say that any of the "bloggers" on this message board are so clairvoyant that they could see what nobody in the basketball world really expected.

Just because your extreme pessimism turned out to be right doesn't mean that you're some kind of savant. Get over yourselves.

Posted by: crs-1 | April 27, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness the deal is finally done!

bla bla bla
bla bla
"In Grunfeld We Trust!!"
Posted by: melodious_thunk

yo melo- get a clue. They got a stretcher waiting for you.

Posted by: frigate32 | April 27, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

@crs-1,

Great post. Spot on!

"i was thrilled when they hired Flip, by mid-Dec thought he was astoundingly overrated and part/parcel to the pile of dung the team was. However ever since the AB incident there was a noticeable change, and I would like to see him here another year in the hopes his attitude towards AB, JM, and NY remains the same (and theirs towards him). To me it looks like he sees some promise in them, hopefully it translates to further development."

What a pile of dung, poorly crafted opinion. He took over a team that nobody realized beforehand had started to hate playing with each other. So, that was a losing battle right off the bat. Then phase 2 was FS coaching a virtual D-League team. This season was no season in which you could properly evaluate any coach, much less one with a proven winning track record. To cap it off, you cite some attitude change and transformation by FS bc AB decided to be insubordinate as some sort of reason you like him now. Now that is a pile of dung right there. There was no change bc of that, period. The only real change was the last couple of weeks where he experimented with a new two guard offense in anticipation of GA returning next season. And, don't bring up increased playing time for the young knuckleheads as some sort of proof of his attitude change towards them. He had no choice bc of attrition. With a competent pro team, all those players with the exception of AB will be back on the bench hoping to play.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 27, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Ernie's tenure is a mix of good and bad (and recently I've come down on the side of his ouster). I just don't see how a new owner can take over a team that's been this devastated, and attempt to set it on a new course, and keep the senior management-front office unchanged. Moreover, Ernie is more a deal-maker than a long-term builder. And this team needs someone with a plan, patience and the ability to build a young team, like Atlanta and OK City did. It also needs a GM who will communicate with the fans and Ernie is an old school guy who only talks to the press when he really, really has to. Thing is, he's still got another year or two on his contract and does Leonsis want to eat that, given how in debt he'll be?

Posted by: jweber1 | April 27, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

First and foremost congratulations Mr.Leonsis; now let's get this franchise back to respectability,get Ernie and Flip gone the sooner the better,focus on a no nonsense head coach with a winning record(Avery Johnson)get a gm who will not undermine or backstab your choice but will work with the head coach in drafting the "right" players(character/attitude)and getting this team good and talented depth off the bench. This franchise has two #1 draft picks and cap space with the right coach and gm in place we could turn this franchise around in a hurry, GOOD LUCK!

Posted by: dargregmag | April 27, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

yo melo- get a clue. They got a stretcher waiting for you.

Posted by: frigate32 | April 27, 2010 8:32 PM

And Leonsis has more Grunfeld for us all. When our championship banner gets raised under his leadership you'll realize just how fortunate true Wiz fans are!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | April 27, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

yo melo- get a clue. They got a stretcher waiting for you.

Posted by: frigate32 | April 27, 2010 8:32 PM

And Leonsis has more Grunfeld for us all. When our championship banner gets raised under his leadership you'll realize just how fortunate true Wiz fans are!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk

yo melo- get a clue. They got a stretcher waiting for you.

Posted by: frigate32 | April 27, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Leonsis can always keep Ernie as President, but hire a new GM. Pritchard should be available, and would be nice to have around if the Wizards are serious about rebuilding through the draft.

Posted by: djnnnou | April 27, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I was just wondering: how do you calculate the probability that DeJuan Blair will suffer a major knee injury in the future? It would have to be a conditional probability, based on circumstances, rather than an absolute number.

What would we need to know? For one thing, the amount of stress he's likely to put on the knees. Say he plays 25 minutes a game for 72 games a season (we're giving him ten games off), plus a dozen playoff games (arbitrary number) for a total of 2100 minutes next season. The NBA requires a fairly extreme form of stress on the knees compared to, say, playing MLB first base, or competitive swimming, or pro bowling, or golf. He wouldn't take as many direct hits as a football lineman -- the other position he could conceivably play -- but he'd probably offset that with the sort of repetitive stress you get pounding up and down a basketball court and muscling people for rebounds. We know knee injuries are especially common among b-ball players at the higher levels.

So that's the environment. Now we need to look around for comparables -- other high level athletes who competed without ACLs. Two are often cited. First, there's Phillip Rivers, who successfully played one game with a nonfunctioning ACL and then immediately had major surgery. There's Hines Ward, who apparently lost an ACL after a childhood surgery and has obviously played very effectively in the NFL over a number of seasons. So we know it can be done.

But the comparables aren't that great. In the first place, Rivers' ACL wasn't missing, only not functioning, and it was quickly repaired. And Ward doesn't weigh 260-275 pounds, as Blair supposedly does.

Seems to me that until we can locate another person who's done something much closer to what Blair is attempting to do, we're not going to be able to establish any numeric odds on the risks in his future.

The docs tell us they're significant. Osteoarthritis at the very least.

But Blair may be the exception.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 27, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

@jweber,

He's been a deal maker bc that has been what the situation in Washington has dictated. Do I trust him to make a lottery pick? Absolutely. If I remember correctly, he had Evans and Griffin pegged last draft as the only difference makers that interested him in what was considered a weak draft. He was pretty much spot on. And, don't give me Curry or Jennings, neither were worth the 5th pick in the draft now or then. His draft history has also included some of the best second round picks ever and some decent late first rounders. He has missed as much as any other GM in those spots, but he also has found more gems than most.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 27, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

This franchise has two #1 draft picks and cap space with the right coach and gm in place we could turn this franchise around in a hurry, GOOD LUCK!

Posted by: dargregmag | April 27, 2010 9:02 PM

We already have the right GM and said GM hand picked Saunders so you know he's the right coach. Everyone just take a deep breath and let him put this puzzle together. I do agree that we need a little luck with the lottery.

frig,

Clue gotten. I'll share it with you--they have stretchers waiting for us all. Enjoy your evening!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | April 27, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Samson151,

How bout' a realtime opinion. I say that if Mr. Leonsis keeps Flip and Ernie he will immediately hire a POBO's.

The first one the Wizards will have had since Michael Jordan held the position.

How's about that Samson?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 28, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Congrats Ted! Wizards fans have to be happy about this news. We have a good proven sports owner, a guy who knows basketball and how to run an organization and how to build a stable and productive team. A guy who has shown innovation and good sense and class.

Grunfeld has made some good moves and has put us in a good position this offseason. But whether he stays or goes at least hopefully we are done with the days of "penny pinching" and wasting or assets. Tell me how can Grunfeld pass on DeJuan Blair in THE SECOND ROUND?? And what is really funny is the excuse is he had knee surgery... yet Grunfeld was unfazed by Arenas' multiple knee surgeries to the point of signing him to a $100 million contract!! We had to trade the pick instead of taking Blair for CASH???! And not only that but the previous year we also sold our second round pick for cash instead of taking a guy like Marc Gasol??!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

Posted by: Darnell1 | April 28, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Rphilli721, You are mostly a cogent guy, but could you expound upon the fact that you think that Jennings wasn't worthy of being picked 5th in the last draft?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 28, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

We gotta get Evan Turner in the draft!

My ideal draft is Turner with our 1st pick, Zoubeck and Vasquez with our 2 later picks.

Keep Livingston! Also keep Singleton. Possibly Miller.

Target free agents C David Lee, F Rudy Gay and PG Kyle Lowry.

These are all legitimate logical and reasonable moves to comprehend.

A center rotation of Lee and McGee.

A forward rotation of Blatche, Thornton, Gay.

A guard rotation of Turner, Arenas, Livingston.

Zoubeck, Singleton, Miller, Young, Ross, Vasquez, Lowry rounding out the bench.


But I have concluded Turner is the guy we gotta get in the draft!! He is by far the best fit for us. If we end up with like the #4 pick for example... I'd deal that pick with our later 2 picks plus Nick Young to move up to get Turner. But we gotta get him. Hopefully we'll just have the #2 pick!

Posted by: Darnell1 | April 28, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

focus on a no nonsense head coach with a winning record
Posted by: dargregmag

Um, not to stifle your flow, but Saunders is a no-nonsense coach with a winning record (987 W / 587 L lifetime). If you say you want a *different* coach that's fine, but Saunders already meets your first qualifications.

Posted by: ts35 | April 28, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

"Samson151,How bout' a realtime opinion. I say that if Mr. Leonsis keeps Flip and Ernie he will immediately hire a POBO's.The first one the Wizards will have had since Michael Jordan held the position.How's about that Samson?LarryInClintonMD."

How would I know?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 28, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

"And what is really funny is the excuse is [Blair] had knee surgery... yet Grunfeld was unfazed by Arenas' multiple knee surgeries to the point of signing him to a $100 million contract!!"

The 'excuse' wasn't Blair's knee surgery. It was the absence of ACL's. That's why teams passed on him.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 28, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

TS i can dig everything you're saying, but i never coulda signed on with that 50 game prediction. I mean the celts, added Rondo,KG and Ray allen + big baby and powe when they won the title and set the record for biggest turnaround from one season to the next with a 42 game turnaround, but to expect the wiz to make a similar turnaround (from 19 gms to 50 or 31 wins) seemed completely crazy given that the wiz didn't add a top 50 all time talent and a possible hall of famer, or a top draft choice.

Posted by: lilhollywood10

They sort of were adding a top talent by getting Gil back (even at 80%), plus adding to one of their weak spots, a short and young bench, with Miller and Foye. And they had been winning 40+ games until Gil was injured (and the first season after). Turned out not to be the case, but it wasn't unreasonable to expect a 45 win season....to be followed by another early exit from the playoffs.

Posted by: ts35 | April 28, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Samson151,

How bout' a realtime opinion. I say that if Mr. Leonsis keeps Flip and Ernie he will immediately hire a POBO's.

The first one the Wizards will have had since Michael Jordan held the position.

How's about that Samson?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

Larry, you know that Grunfeld is the POBO right? His official title is president, but they also have Peter Biche who is the president for the business side.

Posted by: ts35 | April 28, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

And not only that but the previous year we also sold our second round pick for cash instead of taking a guy like Marc Gasol??!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

--

But I have concluded Turner is the guy we gotta get in the draft!! He is by far the best fit for us. If we end up with like the #4 pick for example... I'd deal that pick with our later 2 picks plus Nick Young to move up to get Turner. But we gotta get him. Hopefully we'll just have the #2 pick!

Posted by: Darnell1

Uh, D1, We took Dom McGuire instead of Marc Gasol. In 2008, we traded draftee Bill Walker for cash. If you can make the case for keeping Bill Walker, or anyone taken after him in '08, I'm willing to listen.

Also, I know it's just an example, but you managed to target the one top 8 pick the Wizards cannot get. They can either get drawn in the lottery and move up into the top three, or they will be drafting 5-8 based on record and other teams behind them getting drawn in the top three. But not 4th.

It's not impossible, but it's unlikely that any team drafting #1 or #2 would trade out to 5-8. It would likely cost more than our two firsts, plus NY plus our 2nd. Maybe if we get the #3, or maybe if our 2nd #1 was higher. Or if we included McGee instead of young.

Posted by: ts35 | April 28, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

To your larger point though, if they have the choice of anyone, I probably take Wall first, Turner second. Turner is a great fit for us, but to me Wall has a better chance of being a 'game-changer'.

Posted by: ts35 | April 28, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

TS35, you point out an obvious fact but... Ernie Grunfeld has always/mostly been referred to as the GM.

When Michael was here he was referred to as the President of Basketball Operations. Why was that?

And, is there a real distinction between the two positions or are they interchangeable and is the names just window dressing.

In the Laker organization Kupchap is the GM and Johnson is the President. Do they both have viable roles or is one of them just window dressing?

Does Majic make viable decisions for the Org' that Kupchap has to consider or not?

Do most Teams have both a GM and a POBO's, or do they just go on the whims of one guy to handle both roles like the Wizards have done?

If we keep Ernie, I think we need to bump him down to GM for real and hire a real President of Basketball Operations.

What do you think?

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 28, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

@Larry

Jennings is a decent player, but nothing special. He averaged 19 and 4. Our own GA returning from 3 knee surgeries averaged 22 and 6. He'll be good, not great. And, the obvious is we weren't really in the market for a PG at the time. Tyreke Evans seemed to have piqued EG's interest, but he actually had eye popping numbers for a rookie PG and could become one of the best defensive PG's in the league. Jennings plays zero defense. So, as I said, he would have been a lousy choice and would have done virtually nothing to change the fortunes of last season or any season. This year's draft will have many more real impact players.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 28, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

Great news for us all (I say this as a suffering Boulez/Wiz fan for over 30 years).

The issue now isn't who we draft, but who will do the drafting.

Dump Ernie.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | April 28, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

"...I say this as a suffering Boulez/Wiz fan for over 30 years)."Posted by: shovetheplanet"

You've been suffering since 1980?

Over an NBA club?

Look, I think everybody would understand if you went out and bought a Lakers cap...

Posted by: Samson151 | April 28, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Tyreke Evans is the better prospect but Jennings would not have been a "lousy" pick for the Wizards. Jennings has major potential and I wouldn't be surprised to see him make many All Star appearances and keep his team in the thick of things for years to come.

Posted by: artiesliver | April 28, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Goodbye and good riddance to Ernie who has been the architect behind what has become the worse franchise in the NBA. Let's hope that Ted could find a GM of the quality of George McPhee to start the rebuilding of the team this offseason.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 27, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

It would not shock me if Leonsis retained Grunfeld, despite the team's record the past two seasons. We don't know if, or how many of, Grunfeld's personnel moves the last couple of years were made at the insistence of Pollin in a misguided attempt to make one last run at a championship. In my estimation, such a scenario would largely let EG off the hook. Leonsis, as a minority owner at the time, would probably have a better insight into this.

Posted by: rbpalmer | April 28, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I tend to agree that Ernie's not going anywhere. As a minority owner maybe Ted was privy to some the inner workings of the team under Pollin and has a good picture of what was really going on. I just get the feeling that Ernie's not putting his house up for sale anytime soon.

Posted by: artiesliver | April 28, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"Tyreke Evans is the better prospect but Jennings would not have been a "lousy" pick for the Wizards. Jennings has major potential and I wouldn't be surprised to see him make many All Star appearances and keep his team in the thick of things for years to come.Posted by: artiesliver"

Not a lousy pick, no. And I've always been a fan of players who can just flat-out outrun people. But two things about Jennings in this playoff series:

1) for this series at least, he's morphed into a SG. Taking a couple more shots per game and shooting a much higher % (46.3%) than during the regular season (37.1%). That's not because of a big improvement in the 3 pointers he likes to shoot, but because he's able to score more within the arc.

2) Likewise, his assists are down about 30%. Rebounds are off too, because he's shooting the ball instead of distributing it.

I think the obvious explanation is they've found a matchup they can exploit.

I don't know if Jennings will ever be the Chris Paul type he seems like some games, or if he'll morph permanently into a primary scorer. He's still a six-footer facing up against taller players on a nightly basis. For a lot of guys, that means a career coming off the bench. Maybe he's the exception.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 28, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"You've been suffering since 1980?

Over an NBA club?"

1978 to be exact. It's like a chronic disease, and a Lakers' cap wouldn't help, I'm afraid:( The last 2 seasons have helped though, EG managed to put out a product that not even I could care about very much.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | April 28, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

The Rubio vs. Evans vs. Jennings argument is a dead end. As long as the Wiz had (A) dreams of contention (however unrealistic they may have been) and Arenas on the hook for $80 mill or whatever, they were not going to draft a PG with the #5 pick. Period.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 28, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse


I tend to agree that Ernie's not going anywhere. As a minority owner maybe Ted was privy to some the inner workings of the team under Pollin and has a good picture of what was really going on. I just get the feeling that Ernie's not putting his house up for sale anytime soon.

Posted by: artiesliver | April 28, 2010 9:05 AM

Young man, not only is Ernest Grunfeld not putting his house up for sale but he's likely scouting for more property in the area. Ted Leonsis is as comfortable with Ernest as you are with your favorite pair of slippers. He's nearly as permanent as sequoia tree and will not be uprooted until HE decides his work is done. Expect Ted to formally announce his continued position as GM in the coming days.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | April 28, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Jennings is a decent player, but nothing special.

Posted by: rphilli721 | April 28, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

LMAO

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | April 28, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Samson,

While your observations about Jennings are on the mark, you also need to consider context. Yeah he's become more of a scorer in this series, but the question is: Does it represent a conscious directional shift in his game or an unavoidable necessity resulting from Bogot's absence? I'm more inclined towards the latter. Although I do concur that Jennings has something of a scorer's mindset as opposed to a pure playmaker's, if Bogut was on the floor, I don't doubt he'd be be willing to cede some of the scoring burden. But the situation they're in now, they need him to put it up.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 28, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

rphilli- can you name ONE INSTANCE this past season where it looked like Flip outcoached someone? Exploited a matchup and won a close game? You know, the stuff coaches are supposed to do?

And if you cant see the difference in Flip's attitude (and the players 'tudes) after the debacle AB incident where Mr.50 win got called out as a liar by his knucklehead player....you're simply not paying attention.

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

He's still a six-footer facing up against taller players on a nightly basis. For a lot of guys, that means a career coming off the bench. Maybe he's the exception.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 28, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

he's a starter now right? btw, ever heard of Allen Iverson, a less than 6 foot guy who went up against taller players every night and managed to become a perrenial all star, all nba player, and MVP.

I dunno why yall wanna diminish BJ's 19/4 vs Tyreke's whopping 20/5 in a more uptempo offense on a markedly worse team; kinda makes it sound like you'll try (and fail) to bring up anything to take attention away from the fact that we missed with the draft day trade. Hindsight blah blah blah. It's just the way it happened.

Rphilli said it himself, EG only thought Griff and 'Reke would be difference makers out of all 60 selections in the draft. He thought MM and foye would better address our needs than a rookie, like jennings ( he also added some salary cap flex). We didn't need a pg because we had gil and mike james oh yeah and earl.
i understand that EG had a plan and thought he was right in what he was doing, but it didn't work out........at all.there's nothing wrong with saying it now, especially if you didn't like it then.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | April 28, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

and checkout Caron taking control of the Mavs from Dirk while BTH shuts down Duncan....wiz pride!

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

In order to exploit a matchup, wouldn't a coach have to have a player on his roster who actually presented a favorable a matchup against the other team?

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 28, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

yeah, the wizards are the only bad team in the nba.

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"yeah, the wizards are the only bad team in the nba."

Straw Man Alert!

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

if you are unable to recognize when a player on our roster has had an exploitable matchup on a given night, that's your problem.

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

@LiCM, re: POBO vs GM

Larry, I think it's largely difference in name-only and depends on the organizational structure. It's like the whole thing under Joe Gibbs II with the Associate Head Coach Offense and Associate Head Coach Defense, but then also having separate Offensive Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator. It's just a way to give someone a better title.

In the end, basketball decisions rest with EG, and whatever input Mr. Pollin had. That part we'll never know for sure. Do I think Abe had more input on certain decisions? I do. And I'm sure he gave fairly specific directions on where he wanted to be in terms of the salary cap. But in terms of picking players to sign, players to draft, I think it was EG. I have questions about how much influence Abe exerted to resign Gil and AJ, but in terms of things like trading the #5 last year, or engineering the Kwame for CB trade, I think that was EG.

As to whether they need a separate POBO, I don't think so. Hiring one and moving EG to GM, essentially says that they're not on board with EG's 'vision' anyway, so at that point, I think they just fire him and bring in a new FO.

In terms of their FO structure, who knows? Especially with the team they have and what they need to do going forward, I definitely would be putting a lot of my resources into scouting and development. They obviously have a good pick, plus extra picks this year, and likely will have a lottery pick next year (depending on whether they dive in to the FA market heavily), so they need to make sure they score good players with those picks, and not waste them.

Posted by: ts35 | April 28, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Ernie Grufeld said this about the talent available in last years draft.

"I didn't feel like there was anybody at the five spot who could fit into our rotation," Grunfeld said. "I don't think there are any guarantees in the draft and people are saying this is a weaker draft than normal."

He Also said:

"We knew who was going to be at the five spot and we felt that these players were going to help us a lot more than anybody we would've gotten in the draft,"

Why would anyone trust this man to be in-charge of another draft? Fire Him already.

Posted by: closg | April 28, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

imho, missing on blair was more egregious than trading the #5 pick. Foye is a young guy who has looked good at times during his career....didnt seem to workout here, but it wasnt crazy to think he had the same upside as Jennings with added benefit of having already proven he could produce in the nba.

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

As I assess Foye during his Wiz tenure, it seems to me that he isn't going to improve much. He is a decent player, but I would not have made the trade in hindsight after seeing him play. I would have assumed that Ernie scouted him in Minnesota and I think he should have been able to come to that conclusion before the trade. In other words, Ernie blew it.

Blair is ok, but like it was said on tv the other night as Haywood was grabbing a rebound over him, Blair is a 6'7" center. He is not a power forward. Should Ernie had drafted him, sure he could have, but I am not going to grade Ernie for not drafting a 6'7" center, who can't shoot past a layup.

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 28, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Blair had 23rebs/27pts playing against BTH in the last game of the season, so apparently Haywood's height isnt too much to overcome.

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

the thing i dont like about passing on blair is it's a low risk pick, whereas i can see the logic in being unwilling to invest a 5th pick in Jennings who is 6', rail thin, and was sitting on the bench overseas

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"if you are unable to recognize when a player on our roster has had an exploitable matchup on a given night, that's your problem."

And if you are unable to recognized the pungent odor of B.S. wafting off your argument that's our problem because the rest of us are forced to breathe it in.

Noting that there are other bad teams does zero to impact or address my point. Down the stretch of the season, the Wizards were fielding a team made up almost entirely of 2nd and 3rd stringers. The only two players who came anywhere near legit starter status were Blatche and Livingston, and the jury is still out whether either of them would be a preferred/chosen starter on an actual good team. And Saunders did exploit those two in matchups as much as possible, given that they had the ball in their hands the majority of the time. And guess what? They still lost!

So, to recap: Your claim that Saunders never exploited a matchup is complete bunk because he rode the only two players on the roster who might have any shot at a matchup advantage on a given night. And your underlying implication that his imaginary failure to exploit matchups hurt the team’s chances to win is reeking crap, because even when he did ride Blatche and Livingston it still failed to result in victory because there wasn’t enough talent around them.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 28, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

oh i'm sorry, i didnt realize the season started after the all-star break.

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Down the stretch of the season, the Wizards were fielding a team made up almost entirely of 2nd and 3rd stringers. The only two players who came anywhere near legit starter status were Blatche and Livingston, and the jury is still out whether either of them would be a preferred/chosen starter on an actual good team. And Saunders did exploit those two in matchups as much as possible, given that they had the ball in their hands the majority of the time. And guess what? They still lost!
So, to recap: Your claim that Saunders never exploited a matchup is complete bunk because he rode the only two players on the roster who might have any shot at a matchup advantage on a given night. And your underlying implication that his imaginary failure to exploit matchups hurt the team’s chances to win is reeking crap, because even when he did ride Blatche and Livingston it still failed to result in victory because there wasn’t enough talent around them.
Posted by: kalo_rama | April 28, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

What about the first half of the season when Flip had Gil, AJ, CB and BTH? They still lost!
Ernie and Flip both sucked last year

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | April 28, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were foolish enough to actually be suggesting that that Saunders had never tried to exploit Arenas, Jamison, or Butler in the offense.

Yeah, drawing up plays to get Haywood, McGee, and McGuire 12-16 shots per game while those other three stood around and watched was just killin' the team early on. If only he'd thought to put the ball in the hands of his three former All-Stars instead of letting his role players try to take guys one-on-one.

Ah well. Hindsight

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 28, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"What about the first half of the season when Flip had Gil, AJ, CB and BTH? They still lost!"

Exactly my point. He pressed the advantages he had when he had them: Jamison/Butler/Arenas early, Livingston/Blatche late. So claiming that the team lost because he failed to exploit matchups is bull. He did exploit the matchups he had. The team still lost because they didn't have enough/the right talent.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 28, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

i guess "hey earl, do your thing" passes for good coaching in your world. That and having a 6'4" player guard a 6'11" guy at the rim with 1sec on the clock

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

imho, missing on blair was more egregious than trading the #5 pick.

Posted by: divi3

There were legit basketball reasons for not drafting Blair -- height and injury concerns -- but as I recall the justification they made for it had more to do with the luxury tax threshold than it did his talent. Since they were already going to be paying the LT, signing Blair meant that they would be paying his salary, plus the dollar for dollar LT penalty, so essentially paying his salary twice.

That was their rationalization. Didn't make sense to me then, doesn't now, but that's what it was. I think they should have taken him, but I'm not sure that was purely EG's call, it may have been part of a financial mandate not to go too far into LT land.

Since they were already guard heavy, it would have made more sense to me then to buyout or trade Mike James in a way that would have created LT space, but I don't know if that was possible.

Posted by: ts35 | April 28, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

This was a broken stale team that had peaked during the 2006-2007 season. Many Wizards fans,including myself, kept hoping a healthy Arenas would get them back to a 45-50 win level last year. The core of the team had never been improved and the defensive deficiencies of the Big 3 were still present. I was not surprised that the team failed to meet expectations, although Agent Zero's gun incident expedited blowing up the team. I'm personally glad to see that Butler, Jamison, and Haywood have gotten a chance to play with contenders while still in their prime.

I'm sure the Ted has a person in mind to take over the front office from EG. It may not be this year given the transition which may take a couple of months and we may have to endure another year with Flip coaching the young guys while we lose 50+ games. Based on history with the Caps, Leonsis has likely learned about quick fixes (i.e. Jagr) and won't sign any big name FA's in offseason. This is a 3-5 year rebuilding process much we had to go through with the Caps.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 28, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

This was a broken stale team that had peaked during the 2006-2007 season. Many Wizards fans,including myself, kept hoping a healthy Arenas would get them back to a 45-50 win level last year. The core of the team had never been improved and the defensive deficiencies of the Big 3 were still present. I was not surprised that the team failed to meet expectations, although Agent Zero's gun incident expedited blowing up the team. I'm personally glad to see that Butler, Jamison, and Haywood have gotten a chance to play with contenders while still in their prime.

I'm sure the Ted has a person in mind to take over the front office from EG. It may not be this year given the transition which may take a couple of months and we may have to endure another year with Flip coaching the young guys while we lose 50+ games. Based on history with the Caps, Leonsis has likely learned about quick fixes (i.e. Jagr) and won't sign any big name FA's in offseason. This is a 3-5 year rebuilding process much we had to go through with the Caps.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 28, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Divi, I take your general point, I don't think Flip is the best at in-game adjustments, but ultimately the NBA is a players league, not a coaches league. He who has the horses usually wins.

Flip was able to post a near .600 winning percentage as a coach, so he has some skills. But he also acquired a lot of those wins with KG on his team. So ultimately, get him better players and he'll look like a better coach.

Posted by: ts35 | April 28, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"he's a starter now right? btw, ever heard of Allen Iverson, a less than 6 foot guy who went up against taller players every night and managed to become a perrenial all star, all nba player, and MVP.posted by lilhollywood"

So he would be the exception. That's why his name comes to mind so quickly: because there aren't many like him. You can argue the merits of Iverson all night (great individual player, not so great as the centerpiece of your team, etc) but he was exciting to watch.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 28, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Does it represent a conscious directional shift in his game or an unavoidable necessity resulting from Bogot's absence?"

Probably the latter. Salmons may have made the difference during the reg season, but Bogut's really IMO the key to that team. Without him, they're making all sorts of adjustments, and doing a good job of it.

I thought it was also because they found a matchup they could exploit with Jennings.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 28, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"Flip was able to post a near .600 winning percentage as a coach, so he has some skills. But he also acquired a lot of those wins with KG on his team. So ultimately, get him better players and he'll look like a better coach.Posted by: ts35"

I'm not the first to notice that some coaches excel when they've got some talent, and others seem better when they're stuck with developmental types. Flip's done some of both this year. Looked like he was having more fun with the kids, believe it or not.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I am not saying Flip is a great coach, but I do like the fact that he changed the style of the team's offense to match what he had. Other coaches we have had don't do that.

Posted by: G-Man11 | April 28, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

i'm all for Flip staying at least another year, was just pointing out his apparent lack of in-game acumen at times this season.

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Bogut's injury was absurd. Brutal fall, you gotta feel for the guy and the team...but that was the kind of thing that happens to a stiff, he must be kicking himself.

Posted by: divi3 | April 28, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse


The talent vs coaching ability argument ultimately swings toward talent, imo. Phil Jackson has an outrageous winning percentage over his career because he has always had at least one of the top 5 players in the entire league on his team and sometimes he's had two. Take Jordan, Pippen, Bryant and Shaq off his roster over the years and my guess is his winning percentage would be markedly lower.

Posted by: and_1 | April 28, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Looked like he was having more fun with the kids, believe it or not.

Posted by: Samson151

Sorry Ripley, I don't believe it. He signed on to be a playoff coach trying to get a team deeper into the playoffs. For the first few weeks after the trades, he looked miserable. I think at some point he resigned himself to it, but I don't think he was having more fun.

Posted by: ts35 | April 28, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"he's a starter now right? btw, ever heard of Allen Iverson, a less than 6 foot guy who went up against taller players every night and managed to become a perrenial all star, all nba player, and MVP.posted by lilhollywood"

So he would be the exception. That's why his name comes to mind so quickly: because there aren't many like him. You can argue the merits of Iverson all night (great individual player, not so great as the centerpiece of your team, etc) but he was exciting to watch.


Posted by: Samson151 | April 28, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Zeke wasn't exactly Lebronesque either

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | April 28, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

chris paul

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | April 28, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

i was hopeful for 45 wins. but warned that flip was not a good choice: he had killed spirit in detroit prior to his arrival. and after arriving, did little-to-nothing to play or develop the bench. nothing! he is a schitt coach who may know some x's and o's, but couldn't lead a boy's high school team over a girls team. talks a good game, but short on motivation and too closely tied to the perceived stars. he brought nothing to this table. and was probably a huge cog in its impolsion. he WAS on the plane, wasn't he? none of the writers indicated he did ANYthing to cool the issue when it erupted. question: does his contract obligate the new owner to honor it in totality after he shows he's ill-equipped to lead the team midway through next season?

Posted by: dcjazzman | April 28, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

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