Get it out. Make it cathartic. Done? Good. Now accept reality:
Grunfeld, judged strictly by what he has done to execute owner Ted Leonsis’s plan the past two years — and not what he did or didn’t do in his six years under Abe Pollin — isn’t going anywhere.
Hoping for better times ahead, Grunfeld announced his return as team president in a news conference Tuesday afternoon at Verizon Center. For better or for more ping-pong balls, Ernie’s back. Deal with it.
If that doesn’t make sense, well, it’s time to take a serious look at what Grunfeld has done since Leonsis took over rather than get caught up in How-Can-Ernie-Possibly-Be-Back? rhetoric.
Grunfeld has made a total of eight deals since Leonsis became majority owner in the spring of 2010. John Wall was a no-brainer as the No. 1 draft pick, but remember that two second-round picks were also dealt away that day for draft rights that amounted to Trevor Booker.
Later that summer Grunfeld got money to take Kirk Hinrich off Chicago’s hands and ended up with the draft rights to Kevin Seraphin in exchange for the rights to Vladimir Veremeenko, who has yet to play an NBA game. Serpahin, meanwhile, has shown he can be a bona fide presence in the paint.
He cut bait on Gilbert Arenas the following December, swapping lemon, $100 million-plus contracts with Orlando for Rashard Lewis. It saved the Wizards roughly $30 million.
In February of last year, he essentially turned Hinrich into Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans and a 2011 draft pick that became Chris Singleton, who like Seraphin is another big-body, role-playing building block.
Lost in that deal were major cash savings. Perhaps the happiest day of last season for Leonsis was stroking a check to Mike Bibby for more than $1 million, because that fee bought out the $6 million he would have been owed had he stuck around.
On draft day this year, Grunfeld used the sixth pick on Jan Vesely, the 18th pick on Singleton and the 34th pick on Shelvin Mack, who have shown during the second half of this season they can be complementary players.
His one monster trade this season involved the acquisition of Nene, the proven Brazilian center of the Denver Nuggets, and the jettisoning of two kids who never grew up, JaVale McGee and Nick Young. It’s a huge gamble based solely on whether Nene, the most sought after free agent big man in the NBA last summer, can be a healthy and hungry franchise center the next five years. But given that McGee was clearly not that guy, it’s addition by subtraction.