During Tuesday’s news conference, Grunfeld passed on the opportunity to step up. He should have shouldered responsibility for assembling another awful roster. He could have apologized for giving Blatche a five-year, $35-million extension.
Instead, he abdicated responsibility for what has befallen an organization he has led for nearly a decade.
“We had issues that happened to us that really were out of anybody’s hands the last two, three years,” he said, “and then we had to go in a different direction.”
Grunfeld shouldn’t be blamed for Gilbert Arenas’s incomprehensible decision to bring guns into the locker room. Grunfeld, however, has to be held accountable for an environment in which the immature guard felt empowered to do as he pleased. And when it comes to the organization’s overall lack of discipline, Grunfeld should raise his hand on that one, too.
The Wizards believe their record should be better. They’re hoping Wittman provides a spark. Maybe he will. Even if he does, though, it won’t be enough to overcome Washington’s talent deficiencies and having too many guys with no concept of what it takes to play winning basketball.
Saunders simply had no idea what he was getting into with the Wizards. It wasn’t just that Arenas was an unpredictable loon. The team chemistry was awful, people familiar with the situation say, because of the Arenas-Caron Butler situation, and all the bad habits young players had learned.
Exactly how was Saunders supposed to develop basically an entire roster when many players figured they could ignore him without repercussions?
Saunders didn’t sign Blatche to a deal that basically made him untradable. Saunders didn’t commit the organization to developing McGee, who doesn’t realize it’s a bad idea to go for a look-at-me dunk with the Wizards trailing in another eventual loss?
“We have to continue to work with them,” Grunfeld said of the team’s players in general. “We have to be patient with them. And we have to grow together with them.”
The time for patience is over. A new direction is needed. Go ahead, Ted: Finish the job.