The Wizards (4-17) would have to win at least 12 of their final 45 games to avoid finishing with the worst winning percentage in franchise history. If any team has experienced a setback from the lockout, it’s the Wizards, who have eight players on their roster in their first or second season, and nine players overall on their rookie contracts.
Grunfeld said the inability of the coaches to work with players in the summer and a shortened training camp made it difficult for the Wizards to establish the necessary continuity in the early part of the season. The team also had little time to make significant roster upgrades through trades or free agency, though that wasn’t necessarily the objective during the condensed signing period.
“We could’ve added a couple of players this offseason who would’ve given an extra five or six wins and get us in that seven or eight spot, but it would’ve taken away from the development of some of the young players that we currently have,” Grunfeld said. “We feel like, by our young players, getting this valuable playing time, it’s going to pay off for us in the future, and we’re going to be in a real good position to add some solid players to this roster, because of the salary cap flexibility that we have.”
The Wizards have not used their available cap space to sign any veteran free agent to more than a one-year deal. When asked when the team would actually spend the available money, Grunfeld said, “When we feel the right opportunity is there for us, when the right player is there for us, that can fit into what we’re trying to do, then we’ll be in position to make that move.”
Grunfeld added that despite his contract situation, he has not been prohibited from making deals that would potentially add salary going forward. “We can do whatever we feel is in the best interest of the team,” he said. “Obviously, when you make any type of move, the owner has final say. But Ted has been great. We work very closely together and he’s also been transparent about what this organization is trying to do and we’re moving forward with it.”
Could more alterations be on the way? “We’re always evaluating our situation. Of course you’re always looking for ways to improve your team as you move forward, but our overall plan has not changed,” Grunfeld said, adding that plan this season is “going to be judged by how we continue to improve and how we continue to play hard.”