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Ernie Grunfeld discusses a 'new era'

Washington Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld just finished speaking to the media at Verizon Center in his final predraft news conference before Washington is all but certain to use the No. 1 overall pick on John Wall tomorrow night.

Grunfeld did not confirm officially the Wizards would be selecting Wall, but that has been the foregone conclusion since the club won the NBA draft lottery a little over a month ago.

"This is an exciting time for us," Grunfeld said. "The draft is coming up, and this is the beginning of a new era with new ownership, and also we made a lot of changes last offseason, and we are rebuiliding, and what better way to start the process, what better way to start a new era than with the number one pick and a couple of other picks in the draft."

Asked about the 6-foot-4 Wall, Grunfeld -- to no one's surprise -- spoke glowingly about the point guard who will become the face of the franchise once the pick becomes official. Wall worked out for the Wizards last week, and he was the only player to do so for the club by himself.

"Well as you know, we can't say right now who our number one pick is obviously," Grunfeld said. Wall's "name has come up very often, and he's a very impressive young man, comes from a great program, outstanding leader, really understands the game. He's one of those rare players that makes people around him better."

The Wizards also own the 30th and 35th pick in the draft, but Grunfeld indicated the team has interest in adding another pick in the middle of the first round. That perhaps would mean packaging the last pick in the first round with a player and possibly the 35th pick as well.

Washington has had many rounds of predraft workouts since it won the lottery, and the focus has been on the front court. Just yesterday, the Wizards brought in a 7-1 center Solomon Alabi and 6-11 center A.J. Ogilvy, and other players they have auditioned include forwards Stanley Robinson and Trevor Booker, both of whom would help fortify the team's need for rebounding.

Grunfeld, however, cautioned about drawing too much from those workouts, and other front office officials have echoed his sentiments.

"These workouts are a bit overrated," Grunfeld said. "They're just a small part of the whole evaluation process. I think we put a lot more emphasis on the regular season, how players actually play in games and their whole body of work."

Wall's resume includes averaging 16.6 points, 6.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game during his only season at Kentucky, and he's an ideal fit for a Wizards team that desperately needs on-court leadership and a true distributor. Washington used Gilbert Arenas at point guard to start the season, then went to Randy Foye when he was suspended. In the latter stages of the season, Shaun Livingston got chances to start at point guard.

"If we stay where we are [in the first round], we feel comfortable we'll get two players that can be with us for quite some time," Grunfeld said. "What we're looking for are players that are committed to winning, players that play the game the right way, that have good attitudes and players that want to be here for the long haul."

By Gene Wang  |  June 23, 2010; 12:52 PM ET
Categories:  Gilbert Arenas , John Wall , NBA draft  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ted Leonsis's 'Open Note to Wizards Fans'
Next: John Wall officially joins forces with Reebok

Comments

"Sources near the situation say Grunfeld has one more year to get the Wizards moving in the right direction or he'll be replaced next summer. This draft and the impending free agency is important to Ernie's job security and as a result some insiders believe he Wizards could be extremely active on draft night, a role usually played by the Portland Trail Blazers."
http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=16541

Posted by: closg | June 23, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

New era indeed!

Ernest has been given more authority and has an owner who will actually listen to him. The effect of this new philosophy should not be underestimated.

This time next year, Ernest will still be gainfully employed by the Wizards and will be showing Leonsis why he's the best GM in the league. Ernest is not leaving the Wizards anytime soon.

In Grunfeld We Trust!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | June 23, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Ted is a fair man, firing Ernie would have not come as a surprise and it would have been easily justifiable. However the change in ownership took-place to-close to the draft. Ted will have to re-evaulate Ernest next year. I take comfort in knowing that being an employee for life is not a given with Ted.

Posted by: closg | June 23, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

M-thunk, Are you Ernie's mother???

The vibe around the league is that the Wizards are actively working the phones.
Ernie never seems to hide his general intent. Last year there were rumors about Ernie dealing out of the draft, and that's what he did.

This year he's made no secret of his intent to find another mid first round pick and he's got some cap space, trade exceptions, and a play w/ an 11m dollar option year to make a deal work.

Tomorrow night could be an active night...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | June 23, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Nor is "employee for life" a given with Ernest. If his contract is allowed to expire, he will have his suitors and the loss will be the Wizards'.

On a different note, I'm encouraged by the fact that Ted is willing to buy picks, which is in direct contrast to the previous owner who was constantly looking to save a few bucks (penny-wise and pound-foolish in some cases). In addition to having a financially viable team, Leonsis is interested in building this team up.

Times, they are a-changin'.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | June 23, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

flohrtv,

I'm no more his mother than you are his girlfriend.

Everything clear??

Posted by: melodious_thunk | June 23, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Heat is on Flip too. He'll have a lot of juggling to do with the various agendas and attitudes on the roster, if it looks like he's not in control of the situation his neck will be on the line too.

Posted by: divi3 | June 23, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

We start the re-build process even further back because have so few prospects "under development" thanks to Ernie. We have no players in the D-League, no 2nd rounders, and no assets overseas. Starting with Wall is nice, but we're in a deep hole thanks to Ernie.

Posted by: closg | June 23, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"We have no players in the D-League, no 2nd rounders, and no assets overseas. Starting with Wall is nice, but we're in a deep hole thanks to Ernie."

Most NBA teams don't have assigned players (i.e., players whose rights they hold) in the D-League or overseas. And most of those players aren't going to be players of note in the NBA anyway.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

We have no players in the D-League, no 2nd rounders, and no assets overseas. Starting with Wall is nice, but we're in a deep hole thanks to Ernie.

Posted by: closg

Are you insane? Abe Pollin would have loved you since you are incapable of seeing that any selling of picks benefitted Abe only. Grunfeld does not get a portion of the cash garnered by selling the pick(s). Closg, I thought you were smarter than that.

1. Having players in the D-League is no sign of accomplishment. Hasheem Thabeet, anyone? I'd prefer he draft guys who are good enough to get some PT in the Big Boy League.
2. We have a second rounder on the roster and have a second round pick in this draft. Aside: When Ernest has been allowed to keep the pick, he's found a player or two.
3. Veermenko is an overseas asset, for what it's worth.

It's okay. Don't let the facts sway you.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | June 23, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I definitely wouldn't count on Veermenko, based on the reports I've seen.

There are a lot of potential deals but the reality is the Wiz's biggest asset right now is cap space. Taking a hefty contract off someone's hands could come with a first-round pick. I don't think he packages both of the lower picks because the owner wants to rebuild through the draft. That also suggests that the only free agents we sign will be mid-level -- no Joe Johnson or Chris Bosh.

It will be interesting theater tomorrow night. I'm expecting lots of deals to go down, and the Wiz could be right in the middle of it all.

Posted by: zinger1 | June 23, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards need to go hard after Nowitski. His name is never mentioned, teams are looking at other players. But he's the guy that is unique and worth far more than Joe Johnson or Bosh based on his size and skills. (And even Durant or Carmelo, if they decide to wait). He's worth the cap space.

Posted by: jimwest20 | June 23, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Zinger,
It will be quite refreshing to see the Wiz "in the middle of it all" for a change. I'm looking forward to it as well.

Posted by: WestCoastBullet | June 23, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Most NBA teams don't have assigned players (i.e., players whose rights they hold) in the D-League or overseas. And most of those players aren't going to be players of note in the NBA anyway.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 2:42 PM |
.........................................

Correct indeed, "most" NBA teams don't have players overseas, only the Tier-1 teams have players overseas and this isn't a Tier-1 org...yet.

The Bulls, Spurs, Magic, Jazz, Blazers, Rockets, Cavs, and even Minny all have players who's rights they hold overseas. The Spurs will be cashing-in their overseas stash Tiago Splitter next-season.

There are plenty of productive players on NBA rosters who came from the D-league, they DON'T have to be stars to be useful, %95 of the players in the NBA are NOT stars.

Posted by: closg | June 23, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

nice piece on SI.com about upcoming free agents, the top 40 actually. They have Rudy Gay ranked higher than Josh Childress at 9. Both are restricted FAs, with qualifying offers of 4.4 mil for Rudy and 4.8 for Josh. The also had a nice profile/blurb about Mike Miller, saying that he would be a good addition to any contending team given that he shoots the ball the way people are accustomed to shooting it. It also notes that his attempts have gone down over the years from 7 attempts per game to 3 per game.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 23, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Correct indeed, "most" NBA teams don't have players overseas, only the Tier-1 teams have players overseas and this isn't a Tier-1 org...yet.

The Bulls, Spurs, Magic, Jazz, Blazers, Rockets, Cavs, and even Minny all have players who's rights they hold overseas. The Spurs will be cashing-in their overseas stash Tiago Splitter next-season.

There are plenty of productive players on NBA rosters who came from the D-league, they DON'T have to be stars to be useful, %95 of the players in the NBA are NOT stars.

Posted by: closg

Stashing players overseas usually has as much to do with the cap as it does with talent. The reason a lot of 'tier-1' teams do it is because they rosters are usually fairly set and they usually don't have the cap space to pay a guaranteed pick. San Antonio is the only team that comes to mind that has really gained much in the way of benefit from the stashing process.

I think Kal's point about the D-League is that it is not a true minor league like baseball or hockey has. The associations are somewhat looser. The Wiz did call a bunch of guys up from the D-League for essentially tryouts at the end of the season, so they're definitely taking advantage of that aspect of it. But I do think they should try to make more use of it and try to establish a firmer connection with their affiliate in the way that San Antonio has.

Posted by: ts35 | June 23, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"There are plenty of productive players on NBA rosters who came from the D-league"

There are a small handful of productive NBA players who came from the D-League, and the vast majority of those were not players who were "assigned" there by NBA teams. They're mostly players who went undrafted out of college and later worked their way onto NBA rosters as FAs, meaning that every team in the NBA had an equal shot at them, making your contention that the Wiz are somehow behind the curve by not having assigned players in the D-League a bunch of bunk.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"The Bulls, Spurs, Magic, Jazz, Blazers, Rockets, Cavs, and even Minny all have players who's rights they hold overseas. The Spurs will be cashing-in their overseas stash Tiago Splitter next-season."

Get back to me when any of those players actually put on an NBA uniform and do something.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

closg,

The Wizards brought up several players from the D-League last year. So what's your point? In fact one of those D-Leaguers hit the winning shot in the last game of the season which, ultimately, put us in a position to win the lottery. He was hand-picked by one Ernest Grunfeld. You gotta love it!!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | June 23, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Josh Childress could be a possible FA signee, I'm not sure that Atlanta would match if he gets a 5-7m offer. I'd be surprised if he gets a much bigger deal. His name's been linked to Grunfeld since his college days.

I don't think the Wiz will be left with a ton of cap room after the dust settles tomorrow night. If Ernie manages to trade up he's going to have to take on some guys with bloated deals to get another pick.

That seems to be what we could be in for next year, lots of rookies and a few disinterested vets hoping to get shipped else where at the deadline.

Portland played and Seattle/Ok City helped some teams dump salary for picks and outright bought some picks and it's worked out pretty well for them.
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | June 23, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Typo,
Should have been "Portland and Seattle played that role"
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | June 23, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Are you insane? Abe Pollin would have loved you since you are incapable of seeing that any selling of picks benefitted Abe only. Grunfeld does not get a portion of the cash garnered by selling the pick(s). Closg, I thought you were smarter than that.

1. Having players in the D-League is no sign of accomplishment. Hasheem Thabeet, anyone? I'd prefer he draft guys who are good enough to get some PT in the Big Boy League.
2. We have a second rounder on the roster and have a second round pick in this draft. Aside: When Ernest has been allowed to keep the pick, he's found a player or two.
3. Veermenko is an overseas asset, for what it's worth.

It's okay. Don't let the facts sway you.

Posted by: melodious_thunk |
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Ernie Grunfeld has no record of developing players, only making trades - that's his style of management, he's done it at every place that he was eventually fired from so stop blaming a dead man for Ernie's lack of interest in developing talent.


1. I said we have FEW prospects, obviously Young, Blatche, and even Veeremneko are prospects.

2. Only a lazy GM like Ernie Grunfeld would sit back and just wait to see who was going to be available in the draft, this presumes that ONLY place to find NBA prospects is in the draft. Players get missed and fall through the cracks all the time. Most prospects need playing time and growth. You have ZERO chance of a prospect
coming to fruition if you don't have any.

The Spurs, for example, will either assign an un-drafted/2nd round prospect to their D-League affiliate, or they will monitor that players progress if that player gets a contract to play overseas (James Gist for example)

During Ernie's tenure, how many players has he assigned to our D-League affiliate? Peter John Ramos was the last player, 5-6 years ago. Pathetic!

So now that WE ARE in-need of bodies, we have absolutely ZERO in our non-existent bull-pen. No chips to fill-out the roster or to even use as trading-chips. It doesn't exist as an option because Ernie Grunfeld was too-lazy to do his Job. The Tier-1 teams continue to have that option.

Posted by: closg | June 23, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Lil' Wood (couldn't resist),
I agree Mike Miller package is the way to acquire an additional pick. I was hoping to maintain some of our cap space for a potential Melo or Durant signing but SI is also reporting they may both be close to signing extensions. If thats the case then a play for Outlaw or even better (but much more expensive) Rudy Gay makes some sense right now. Both are young enough to stick for awhile. Then Miller can be moved to acquire that additional pick they covet. What's your connection to Hollywood? I'm looking at the Hwood sign right now.

Posted by: WestCoastBullet | June 23, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"The Spurs, for example, will either assign an un-drafted/2nd round prospect to their D-League affiliate, or they will monitor that players progress if that player gets a contract to play overseas (James Gist for example)"

And how many of those players have (A) actually made it onto the Spurs roster and (B) had any kind of impact?

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

BTW, an NBA team cannot "assign" an undrafted player to the D-League unless they first sign him to a contract to secure his rights, which would mean taking up cap and roster space on a player who's not contributing and may not ever contribute. I can guarantee you the Spurs have never done this.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

closg,

Do you even attempt to use logic to analyze events as they unfold before you? Do I realy have to name all the fell-through-the-crack FAs that have graced the Wizards roster during Ernest's tenure? The Haterade that you constantly drink is casuing your two working brain cells to misfire.

You have nothing to back up you claim that Ernest is lazy. If he were lazy that would have been well-chronicled by now (and Ted would certainly have been aware of it and fired him as soon as the ink was dry on the league approval of his ownership). Stop pretending that Ted could not have axed him and appointed one of Ernest's assistants to run the draft as interim GM if he so desired.

I don't want to shock you, but unless you have an owner who is willing to pay the price to move up in the draft, you have no choice other than to wait to see who falls to you in the draft. Apparently you think that you can just hand the name of the player you want to David Stern whenever you please, your turn or not.

Posted by: melodious_thunk | June 23, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

So now that WE ARE in-need of bodies, we have absolutely ZERO in our non-existent bull-pen. No chips to fill-out the roster or to even use as trading-chips. It doesn't exist as an option because Ernie Grunfeld was too-lazy to do his Job. The Tier-1 teams continue to have that option.

Posted by: closg

I love it when people take one reasonable nugget and then extrapolate 3 or 4 unreasonable or unknowable things out of it.

The main thing for me with this one is extrapolating that EG is 'too lazy' when you have no idea of the constraints he was working under.

I'm not saying all of the EG moves have been genius, but he was working under different constraints than say the guys in Portland and OKC. A lot of moves he made -- trading 2nd rounders, not buying picks, trading D-Mac, etc -- are cost saving measures. Tough to say whether those were pure EG moves, or directions from Abe not to go too far into Lux Tax Land or spend cash.

Aside from that, the only draft you can say that EG totally botched was the Pech / Veer draft. And the reason we haven't been drafting guys and sending them to the d-league is that our team has actually been keeping their draft picks on the roster. I'm not sure how you fault them for that.

Also, if the Spurs traded Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu tomorrow, how great would their prospects look then? Because that's where the Wizards are now. They traded most of their 'good' players and their 'prospects' are now playing.

Posted by: ts35 | June 23, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"The Bulls, Spurs, Magic, Jazz, Blazers, Rockets, Cavs, and even Minny all have players who's rights they hold overseas. The Spurs will be cashing-in their overseas stash Tiago Splitter next-season."

Wouldn't expect to see Splitter next season. Year after is more like it.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Here's from an article on Splitter last March:

"Tiago Splitter, the Spurs' first-round pick in 2007, is widely acknowledged as the best big man in Europe. This summer, he has an opt-out clause in his contract with Tau Ceramica, the Spanish League team for which he has played since he was a teenager."

"This was thought to be good timing for the Spurs. The league's collective bargaining agreement contains language that allows teams to treat first-rounders who play three years for non-NBA teams, post-draft, as if they are free agents. It will have been three years this June since the Spurs made Splitter the 28th selection of the 2007 draft, so he falls into that category."

"Up to now, the Spurs had been limited to offering the 6-foot-11 center $970,000 for the first year of his rookie scale contract. Now, they can offer a lot more, but they are still bound by collective bargaining agreement rules. Just as they have no cap room to offer big money to free agents from other teams this summer, they are limited to cap exceptions as they try to lure Splitter."

"The most they can offer: The mid-level cap exception, expected to be around $5 million. Trouble is, even that amount likely won't pry him out of Spain. That's because the prospect of an NBA lockout that could wipe out the entire 2011-12 season is enough to make any player making mega-Euros think twice about bolting for the NBA. Splitter's deal reportedly is worth far more than $5 million."

“That's why they're probably not going to get him, even for the full mid-level,” said one NBA executive. “If you've got a nice, guaranteed deal over in Europe, why would you sign over here and face a lockout? I'm telling you, the full mid-level probably isn't going to get it done.”

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

And how many of those players have (A) actually made it onto the Spurs roster and (B) had any kind of impact?

Posted by: kalo_rama |
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The point that I will repeat again is that it is an option that the Spurs have, that we do not avail ourselves to. It's the difference between a GM who will go the extra mile to find & develop good players, and the GM's like Ernie who just sit-back and to try and pick them off. The Alonzo Gee call-up is a perfect example.

Alonzo Gee was a Spurs find, he was not under-contract, but the Spurs were monitoring him. After the Wizards called Gee up for 2nd time, perhaps wanting to lock-him-up as was stated by Flip, the Spurs swooped-in and gave him a partially guranteed deal, then sent him to their D-League affiliate team for further development. The Spurs use their D-league affiliate, our use is non-existent. Perhaps Gee will be on the roster this year, it's an option the Spurs have that we don't.

Posted by: closg | June 23, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Gee will be on the roster this year, it's an option the Spurs have that we don't.

Posted by: closg | June 23, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse
kinda like the second rd flier on Blair........oh right even less risk b/c none of his contract was guaranteed.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 23, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter is expected to sign with the Spurs sometime after the free agency period opens on July 1.
Splitter, the Spurs' 2007 first-round draft pick, plays for Caja Laboral in the Spanish League. The consensus is that it will take five years and a total package worth between $25 million and $30 million to entice Splitter away from Spain's money"
http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/playerbreakingnews.asp?sport=NBA&id=1258&line=136991&spln=1

Samson151 - Your quote came from "One NBA executive", obviously a jealous one :-)

Posted by: closg | June 23, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Tiago Splitter is the new Arvidis Sabonis -- without the Easter Island-sized head.

The Spurs relationship with their D-League affiliate is different than the Wizards' is. If Ted is serious about building with young players and player development, he will change that. Along with the other things that need to change, like how many scouts the Wiz have, etc.

Actually Lil
"DeJuan Blair has signed a guaranteed three-year contract with the Spurs for $2.7 million, Jonathan Givony has learned."
hoopshype.com

Not saying it wasn't still a mistake to pass on him, just keeping up with the facts.

Posted by: ts35 | June 23, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The point that I will repeat again is that it is an option that the Spurs have, that we do not avail ourselves to. "

And the point that I will repeat again is . . . so what?

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Closg, the Wiz do need to improve their use of their d-league affiliate, but it's a stretch to extrapolate from that that EG is 'lazy' or even a bad GM without knowing what his budget was, or what Abe was willing to do. It might be totally on EG, it might not be on him at all, tough to make that call from the outside.

We now have an owner who appears to have a different approach, so we'll see if things with EG are different or remain the same.

Posted by: ts35 | June 23, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Options are fine. But unless there's some quantifiable evidence that having this particular option results in a measurable positive advantage on teams winning at a high level, then there's no basis for going off about how not having it inherently puts a team at a significant disadvantage.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Options are fine. But unless there's some quantifiable evidence that having this particular option results in a measurable positive advantage on teams winning at a high level, then there's no basis for going off about how not having it inherently puts a team at a significant disadvantage.

Posted by: kalo_rama

I'd agree with that. At the same time, I think the Spurs model makes a lot of sense. Controlling your affiliate a bit more, having your affiliate teach the same system that your pro team does, etc. It makes more sense for the guys who are long-term projects and for finding those rare players who can make the jump from the D-League to being a legit rotation player for a pro team.

The Spurs model is actually essentially the same model the Caps use with their affiliates in terms of having a system / style of play and teaching it at all levels of the organization. So it would make sense that the Wiz will ultimately go that way.........once they develop a system / style of play :)

Posted by: ts35 | June 23, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"I'd agree with that. At the same time, I think the Spurs model makes a lot of sense. Controlling your affiliate a bit more, having your affiliate teach the same system that your pro team does, etc. It makes more sense for the guys who are long-term projects and for finding those rare players who can make the jump from the D-League to being a legit rotation player for a pro team.

The Spurs model is actually essentially the same model the Caps use with their affiliates in terms of having a system / style of play and teaching it at all levels of the organization. So it would make sense that the Wiz will ultimately go that way.........once they develop a system / style of play :)"

Problem is that's not necessarily up to the NBA team, is it? The Spurs basically have their D-League team to themselves while most of the other D-League teams are affiliated with multiple NBA franchises (3 or 4 in some cases), which means that those other teams can't have the level of influence over their D-League affiliate that San Antonio can. They have an advantage that most other NBA teams just don't have.


But, again, unless/until there's credible evidence that the Spurs D-League approach has produced anything that's actually helped them win something, then there's nothing to suggest that the Wiz are missing out by not following it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Problem is that's not necessarily up to the NBA team, is it?

I haven't looked into it lately, but I believe the level of involvement an NBA team has with an affiliate has more to do with how much they are willing to invest as opposed to just being assigned.

I don't know if there's a provable benefit at this point because the current system (factoring in the lack of the old CBA league and the one-and-done rule) hasn't been in place that long, and has been sort of half-assed. But I think for a team like the Wiz, for whom player development going forward will be of significant importance (if you believe Ted), investing in all avenues of player development makes sense. So while I don't think you can prove the benefit, I think a case can still be made for it. Plus, why not try to be ahead of the curve?

Would it have made more sense to send McGee some place like a D-League team for a while instead of riding the pine as much as he did early on? He could have spent the time working on all of the things he needs to work on in a more conducive environment.

Posted by: ts35 | June 23, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Just say "no" to ISO JOE JOHNSON.

Posted by: glawrence007 | June 23, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"So now that WE ARE in-need of bodies, we have absolutely ZERO in our non-existent bull-pen. No chips to fill-out the roster or to even use as trading-chips. It doesn't exist as an option because Ernie Grunfeld was too-lazy to do his Job. The Tier-1 teams continue to have that option.Posted by: closg"

The whole point of 'blowing the team up' in the wake of the Arenas incident was to get to a point where the Wiz could start over. Only failure in that respect was their inability to unload Arenas. The Wiz would hopefully 'hit bottom' this coming season and over the next couple years, build themselves back into position to contend.

One thing they didn't count on: getting lucky enough to grab John Wall.

It's surprising that anyone could mistake this for some failure on management's part. This is what they set out to do. I think perhaps a massive resentment towards Ernie is some blinding some to the obvious.

Of course they're not going to come out and say that. But Ted Leonsis doesn't need to hire his son to discover that it'll take more than an off-season to turn this team around.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

The 'Spurs model'? Who came up with that? Is it to allow other clubs to give young players like Roger Mason and Alonzo Gee their shot, then sign them away for too much $$? Is it to trade away one of the best European players ever drafted, to Houston so he could blossom somewhere else?

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

"So now that WE ARE in-need of bodies, we have absolutely ZERO in our non-existent bull-pen. No chips to fill-out the roster or to even use as trading-chips. It doesn't exist as an option because Ernie Grunfeld was too-lazy to do his Job. The Tier-1 teams continue to have that option.Posted by: closg"

The whole point of 'blowing the team up' in the wake of the Arenas incident was to get to a point where the Wiz could start over. Only failure in that respect was their inability to unload Arenas. The Wiz would hopefully 'hit bottom' this coming season and over the next couple years, build themselves back into position to contend.

One thing they didn't count on: getting lucky enough to grab John Wall.

It's surprising that anyone could mistake this for some failure on management's part. This is what they set out to do. I think perhaps a massive resentment towards Ernie is some blinding some to the obvious.

Of course they're not going to come out and say that. But Ted Leonsis doesn't need to hire his son to discover that it'll take more than an off-season to turn this team around.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

"Would it have made more sense to send McGee some place like a D-League team for a while instead of riding the pine as much as he did early on? He could have spent the time working on all of the things he needs to work on in a more conducive environment.
Posted by: ts35"

I dunno, the D-league underwhelms me. I understand the intent. I'm not sure it works. Reading that Post magazine piece about a visit to the D's, sure didn't seem like the players were paying much attention to the coaches. McGee would have gotten extra minutes on the court, which is good, but against inferior big men, which perhaps isn't. Probably would have benefited as much from an extra season at Nevada.

Protestations aside, I don't think Memphis sent Hasheem down for 6 games last season so he could become a better basketball player. I think they wanted to get his attention.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

"I haven't looked into it lately, but I believe the level of involvement an NBA team has with an affiliate has more to do with how much they are willing to invest as opposed to just being assigned."

That may be true, but I would still maintain that an NBA team with a 1-to-1 relationship with its D-League affiliate probably has more input and influence than one that's sharing its D-League team with 2 or 3 other franchises. In fact, I've seen it written that one of the reasons why team execs don't like sending players to the D-League is because they have such limited control over what they learn and do when they're down there.

"I don't know if there's a provable benefit at this point because the current system (factoring in the lack of the old CBA league and the one-and-done rule) hasn't been in place that long, and has been sort of half-assed."

Exactly my point. It's a haphazard system that, at best, has produced limited and random tangible benefits for NBA teams, and the teams that have made little to no use of it have not proven to have suffered much or at all as a result. So the argument that Grunfeld has somehow short-sheeted the Wizards by not shuttling players to the D-League has no legs.

"But I think for a team like the Wiz, for whom player development going forward will be of significant importance (if you believe Ted), investing in all avenues of player development makes sense. So while I don't think you can prove the benefit, I think a case can still be made for it. Plus, why not try to be ahead of the curve?"

Except there's not enough evidence to suggest that using the D-League as a direct farm system actually does anything to help player development in any significant way, is there? Maybe that's one of the reasons so few teams use it that way. Isn't it possible (even likely) that they've looked at the system (in its current form) and decided that keeping young players close to the team and the organization so they can become inculcated in the teams cultures and system is more helpful in the long run than shipping them off to North Dakota or wherever?

I'm not saying the D-League can't ever be of some kind of use, I'm simply saying it hasn't come close to being proven so indispensable that it makes one iota of sense to be calling for a GM's head for not jumping all over it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

"Probably would have benefited as much from an extra season at Nevada."

Speaking of which, did you hear the comments from one of Beasley's former college teammates, claiming that Beasley told him he was unhappy in the NBA and wishes he'd stayed 4 years in college? I'm betting Pat Riley shares that sentiment right now.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 23, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

This EG argument is idiotic.

EG easily could have sent down NY, McGee, or McGuire to the D-league. But between injuries and suspensions, most of the roster spaces where locked up with unusable options. One roster spot was taken up by Crittenton that did even play in one game last year and another with Arenas.

So most of the roster, the last 3 guys were pressed into action for a better of the year and they didn't have an option to use one of the last roster spots on a Undrafted free agent.

And it a bad thing to have enough talent on your roster to not have an open spot?

We could get into a totally different discussion about whether or not is a good idea to have roster flexibility. If you have a solid top 12 players I am all for keeping the last 3 spots flexible.


But to accuse EG of being lazy is purely ignorant. Because how many different players did we have play in a Wizards uniform last year? 30 ?

Sounds like a pretty busy year for a lazy GM to me.

Posted by: dcinmd1 | June 23, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

The Heat are looking to trade away players to clear cap space. Today, they gave away Daequan Cook for pennies to save $3mil.

Trade proposal:
Wiz trade Quinton Ross (1 yr @ $1.5mil) for Michael Beasley ($5mil in 2010, $6.25mil in 2011) + the Heat's newly acquired 32nd pick).

Reasons this could work: We have a trade exemption (correct?). Beasley would be "home" and have a much better support system - the guy has a lot of talent if he can get his head on straight. We can then package that 32nd pick with the 30th and 35th to make a stronger push for a mid 1st rounder.

Thoughts?

Posted by: dfresh58 | June 23, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Ernie better get with it. The Heat GAVE away the 18th pick and Cook to OKC for a second rounder. This season is the last on Cook's contract so it's not like OKC had to take on a monster of a bad contract. I don't know why Ernie wasn't able to make this move!

Posted by: bobabuie | June 23, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

It's actually kind of sad that Wall will be the face of the franchise when you have a $165 mil max money player on your roster.

I think if the team puts a giant Wall poster outside of Verizon and not for Gilby...this lovefest ain't gonna last long...especially if Gilby starts putting up numbers and game winners again.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 23, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I haven't looked into it lately, but I believe the level of involvement an NBA team has with an affiliate has more to do with how much they are willing to invest as opposed to just being assigned.

There's a hybrid model where an NBA team pays for and runs basketball operations while the affiliate runs the building. This is what the Houston Rockets are doing, and it's pretty cool to see how they've absorbed the Vipers into the Rockets organization. Gersson Rosas is the VP of Player Personel for the Rockets and GM of the Vipers.

That model is great if the affiliate is near, but a better option for the Wizards would be to buy the Dakota Wizards and move them to the Patriot Center. I believe it's about $2mil. to buy a team, and around $400,000/yr to run one.

Posted by: djnnnou | June 23, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

""If we stay where we are [in the first round], we feel comfortable we'll get two players that can be with us for quite some time," Grunfeld said. "What we're looking for are players that are committed to winning, players that play the game the right way, that have good attitudes and players that want to be here for the long haul.""

Kind of reminds you of OPech, V.Vermeenko, Peter John Ramos, NYoung, DMAc, etc. eh EG?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 23, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

"Ernie better get with it. The Heat GAVE away the 18th pick and Cook to OKC for a second rounder. This season is the last on Cook's contract so it's not like OKC had to take on a monster of a bad contract. I don't know why Ernie wasn't able to make this move!Posted by: bobabuie"

It's a little more complicated than that. Miami's whole focus is on signing a big free agent July 1 (maybe even the Biggest). So they were looking for cash. Cook was set to make $2.2 mil and the 1st round pick would have required them to hold another $1.2 mil in abeyance. By getting rid of both, they freed up $3.4 mil in ready cash to add to their FA pot.

Cook as a player has struggled of late. Played in 45 games last year, averaged 15 minutes, started only three contests, averaged 5 points, and shot a miserable 32% from the field, way off from his career numbers.

OKC is pretty clearly accumulating 1st rounders (they now have 3) for a deal. Miami has 4 #2s now, so they may well sell off a couple, too.

Wouldn't be surprised to see the Wiz pick up one of those OKC choices. In which case they won't have had to take on Cook and his $2.2 million.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

That 18th pick would have been great to get. Hopefully EG secures it or a higher one by another route, but if he doesnt, surely it's Abe's fault.

Posted by: divi3 | June 23, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Ernie better get with it. The Heat GAVE away the 18th pick and Cook to OKC for a second rounder. This season is the last on Cook's contract so it's not like OKC had to take on a monster of a bad contract. I don't know why Ernie wasn't able to make this move!Posted by: bobabuie

The Wizards would have to be $1.3 mil. under the current cap to make that deal. The NBA fiscal year ends 6/30.

Posted by: djnnnou | June 23, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

and Tiago Splitter aint doo-doo until he produces something in the nba. Perusing the Spurs blogs it's clear many fans following him are underwhelmed with what they see (while others are impressed no doubt).

At this point he's done as much for the Spurs as Veermenko has done for the Wiz

Posted by: divi3 | June 23, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"Kind of reminds you of OPech, V.Vermeenko, Peter John Ramos, NYoung, DMAc, etc. eh EG?
Posted by: DC_MAN88"

Weren't a bunch of those guys second-rounders?

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

This is surely obvious, but whenever an NBA GM drafts a player in the first round, he's going to say that the player will be around for a long time and help the team in some important way. That's true even if he's planning to stash the player in Dubrovnik for a couple seasons. It's just marketing. Would you rather have him say, "Wow, this guy's a real POS. I can't imagine what I was thinking."

At the moment the Wiz have a bunch of open spots so they're in the market for a draft pick. They've even said they thing the 30th and 35th picks will automatically make the club. That wasn't true last year when they were willing to let a pick go for cash.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The plot thickens.....

"Meanwhile, multiple sources say Oklahoma City isn’t done trying to make moves after getting the No. 18 pick and Daequon Cook from Miami earlier Wednesday. Sources said Indiana continues to be a possible destination for a trade. The Pacers’ No. 10 has been on the market if the Pacers can land a point guard in a deal. Indiana had looked long at Udoh at No. 10 if the Pacers kept the pick. If the Warriors go with Udoh at No. 6 then the Pacers might be more apt to deal."

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | June 23, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

This time next year, Ernest will still be gainfully employed by the Wizards and will be showing Leonsis why he's the best GM in the league. Ernest is not leaving the Wizards anytime soon.

In Grunfeld We Trust!

Posted by: melodious_thunk | June 23, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

melodious_thunk

The only way Ernie would be consider one of the best GM's in the NBA is if he resigned MM and Foye and could trade them for one of the top 5 picks?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | June 23, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

""If we stay where we are [in the first round], we feel comfortable we'll get two players that can be with us for quite some time," Grunfeld said. "What we're looking for are players that are committed to winning, players that play the game the right way, that have good attitudes and players that want to be here for the long haul.""
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I love it, Ernie preparing the fan-base for the distinct possibility that we will come away with ZERO extra picks and stay exactly where we are in the draft. Ernie simply doesn't have the assets to do much.

Posted by: closg | June 23, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

""Kind of reminds you of OPech, V.Vermeenko, Peter John Ramos, NYoung, DMAc, etc. eh EG?
Posted by: DC_MAN88"

Weren't a bunch of those guys second-rounders?

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse "

NY was the 16th pick in the 1st round.

OPech was the 18th pick in the 1st round.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 23, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

...especially if Gilby starts putting up numbers and game winners again.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 23, 2010 8:14 PM

`

That's not likely though, is it?

Posted by: Vicc | June 23, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Is there any chance we still have Josh Howard next year? I've always liked him as a player. A starting 5 of Wall, Arenas, Howard, Blatche and McGee could be intriguing, if Howard can ever get healthy.

Posted by: JimZipCode | June 23, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Is there any chance we still have Josh Howard next year? I've always liked him as a player. A starting 5 of Wall, Arenas, Howard, Blatche and McGee could be intriguing, if Howard can ever get healthy.

Posted by: JimZipCode | June 23, 2010 10:34 PM

+1

3 of the 5 are young and future building blocks. McGee has defensive potential and Blatche has offensive potential.

Posted by: Vicc | June 23, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

"Reasons this could work: We have a trade exemption (correct?). Beasley would be "home" and have a much better support system - the guy has a lot of talent if he can get his head on straight. We can then package that 32nd pick with the 30th and 35th to make a stronger push for a mid 1st rounder."

(A) Taking a player who already has a history of attitude and behavior issues and putting him in a setting where he'll possibly be surrounded by additional outside distractions (like "friends" and family with their hands out) is a terrible idea. (B) If the report is true, Beasley just flat out admitted that he's not happy even being in the NBA; why would the Wiz want to expose their new prize rookie to that? (C) Beasley is not as good as the hype or even his numbers suggest. (D) Since when do the Wizards have a "support system"?

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 24, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

"Kind of reminds you of OPech, V.Vermeenko, Peter John Ramos, NYoung, DMAc, etc. eh EG?
Posted by: DC_MAN88"

Weren't a bunch of those guys second-rounders?

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

NY was the 16th pick in the 1st round.

OPech was the 18th pick in the 1st round.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 23, 2010 9:41 PM

So the answer to the question is: "Yes, a bunch of those guys were second-rounders."

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 24, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

"Wouldn't be surprised to see the Wiz pick up one of those OKC choices. In which case they won't have had to take on Cook and his $2.2 million."

Posted by: Samson151 | June 23, 2010 8:22 PM

Seems unlikely to me. The Thunder are in pretty good position, cap wise, so it's not likely they're looking to unload anything for cap space or cash. They might be interested in acquiring some playoff-tested vets to buttress their young core, but the Wiz don't have any.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 24, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Here's a blurb from Wikipedia about the D League:

Successful NBA call-ups
Many former NBA draftees, waived players and undrafted players have played in the NBA D-League. Some of the called-up D-League players that went on to have successful NBA careers include Rafer Alston, Louis Amundson, Chris Andersen, Kelenna Azubuike, Matt Barnes, Devin Brown, Will Bynum, Matt Carroll, Eddie Gill, Stephen Graham, Jason Hart, Chuck Hayes, Anthony Johnson, Dahntay Jones, Jamario Moon, Mikki Moore, Smush Parker, Bobby Simmons, Ime Udoka, Von Wafer, C. J. Watson, and Mike Wilks.[15] Aside from these players, there are several successful NBA players who were assigned to the D-League in their first and second season, such as José Juan Barea, Brandon Bass, Andray Blatche, Aaron Brooks, Jordan Farmar, Marcin Gortat, Ramon Sessions and Martell Webster.[16]

In the 2009–10 NBA season, a record of 27 players have been called up for a record 40 times. Several of those players earned a season-long contracts after being key contributors, including Anthony Tolliver, Chris Hunter and Reggie Williams (all Golden State Warriors), Sundiata Gaines (Utah Jazz), Chris Richard (Chicago Bulls), and Mario West (Atlanta Hawks).[15]

Currently, there are only 11 players with D-League experience who won an NBA title: Tremaine Fowlkes with the Detroit Pistons in 2003–04; Devin Brown and Mike Wilks with the San Antonio Spurs in 2004–05; Earl Barron and Dorell Wright with the Miami Heat in 2005–06; James White with the San Antonio Spurs in 2006-07; Gabe Pruitt with the Boston Celtics in 2007–08; and Jordan Farmar, Josh Powell, Sun Yue and Shannon Brown with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008–09.[17] Bobby Simmons and Aaron Brooks are the only former D-League players to win an NBA end of season award, taking Most Improved Player award with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2004–05(Simmons), and with the Houston Rockets in 2009-2010(Brooks).[18]

In 2008 NBA Draft, Portland Trail Blazers drafted Mike Taylor from Idaho Stampede. He became the first player from the NBA D-League to be drafted by an NBA team. He was subsequently traded and signed a rookie contract with Los Angeles Clippers.[19]

Thirty-five former NBA D-League players were on the 2006–07 NBA opening day roster. The number increased to 44 players in 2007–08 and then 60 players in 2008–09.[20][21] In the 2009 NBA Playoffs, an all-time high of 49 players were named to playoff rosters, 17 of whom also spent time in the D-League that season.[22] In the 2009–10 season, the number of former D-League players on NBA opening day roster increased and reached the all-time high of 63 players
//////////////////////////////////

Posted by: PostSubscriber | June 24, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks PostSubscriber!

The D-League is valued by the NBA and the smart teams and GM's that use it. It is unfortunate that Ernie Grunfeld is too-lazy to put in the work to utilize this asset.

We haven't sent a player to the D-League in 5 years. Meanwhile, the Tier-1 teams all send their bench-layers to the D-League regularly for playing-time. OKC's project Center BJ Mullens spent most of the year there while JaVale McGee was warming the bench for most of the year.

Posted by: closg | June 24, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm simply saying it hasn't come close to being proven so indispensable that it makes one iota of sense to be calling for a GM's head for not jumping all over it.

Posted by: kalo_rama

If you read back, I wasn't the one calling for EG's head over this. I actually argued against that.

As for the rest of it, I 100% stipulate to the argument that the D-League hasn't provided much in the way of tangible benefit. I'm just saying there's potential there. And I can only say that based on how other sports use the minor leagues (granted, not an apples-to-apples comparison) and how the NBA used to use the CBA as a de-facto minor league.

For sure, (and I think I've said this already) the Wiz would have to change their relationship with their D-League team. The idea that djnnnou put forward (which I also think I've seen elsewhere) makes a lot of sense. More control over the D-League affiliate and close by so that you can share the resources of the pro team and have more direct influence on the players. Which is what I gather the Spurs (and I guess the Rockets) are trying to do.

The worst thing that happens if they do it is that they get zero benefit from it. The worst thing that happens if they don't would be watching another franchise gain benefit from being forward-thinking while the Wiz are sitting on their thumbs (again) and showing up late to the party like they've done with high school players, international players, and pretty much every other innovative scouting or player development avenue over the past 20 or 30 years.

Posted by: ts35 | June 24, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

It's actually kind of sad that Wall will be the face of the franchise when you have a $165 mil max money player on your roster.
Posted by: DC_MAN88

It would be sad, if it were true.

"On July 13, 2008, Arenas signed a contract worth $111 million over six years with the Wizards"

I take your general point, but as usual, just a little loose with actual facts.

Posted by: ts35 | June 24, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"If you read back, I wasn't the one calling for EG's head over this. I actually argued against that."

I don't need to read back. I know you weren't the one calling for this. I know this because my initial comment on the issue was directed to the person (closg) who did say it. It was that initial argument I was responding to when you jumped in the middle. It was the crux of the point I was making. You seemed to need reminding of that because the argument you're directing at me appears aimed at refuting a point that I never made, which is that the D-League is of no use at all. I never said that. In fact, I said more than once that it could be of some use, just not in the way closg seems to think it can.

I'm not the one who needs to read back, I don't think.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 24, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Here's a blurb from Wikipedia about the D League:

Successful NBA call-ups

That's nice, but utterly irrelevant since we weren't talking about callups. We were talking about teams drafting players then assigning them to the D-league for extended development stays. The vast majority of the names on that list don't fall into that category. Only 8 players on that list are specifically noted as having been assignees (and most of them weren't there long) who went on to have significant careers. Like I said: "a small handful."

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 24, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's a bunch of crap.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 24, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

To be more specific, this:

Meanwhile, the Tier-1 teams all send their bench-layers to the D-League regularly for playing-time. "

is a bunch of crap.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 24, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, the Tier-1 teams all send their bench-layers to the D-League regularly for playing-time. "

is a bunch of crap.

Posted by: kalo_rama |
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Are you denying that the Tier-1 teams sent their rookies to the D-League for playing time? What is "a bunch of crap" specifically?

Posted by: closg | June 24, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

In fact, I said more than once that it could be of some use, just not in the way closg seems to think it can.

I'm not the one who needs to read back, I don't think.

Posted by: kalo_rama

My bad. But you sort of do need to read back. Because while we both believe criticizing EG for D-League usage (or lack thereof) at this point doesn't make sense, I do actually believe that going forward they can get more usage out of the D-League closer to what closg is suggesting.

It won't ever be like the MLB or NHL minor leagues, but it can and should be more like the developmental tool it's name implies, instead of just the side-step around the legal issues around the one-and-done rule that it currently is. The smarter teams will find ways to get benefit out of it. But whatever, moving on. I'm ready for the freakin draft already.

Posted by: ts35 | June 24, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

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