Wizards sign team president Ernie Grunfeld to multi-year contract extension
Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin announced today that the team has signed President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld to a multi-year contract extension.
"Ernie has done an outstanding job in his tenure with the Wizards and is most deserving of this extension," said Pollin. "From his first day, Ernie has worked tirelessly to improve our team, and everything he has done has been with an eye toward our long term success. I'm proud of the direction our team is going, and with two consecutive playoff appearances behind us, our future looks extremely bright."
"I'm honored and flattered with Mr. Pollin's confidence and trust in what we've done," said Grunfeld. "Mr. and Mrs. Pollin have been great owners and are extremely supportive of all that we've tried to accomplish, and I feel that we are positioned very well to be an extremely competitive team for years to come. I enjoy working with everyone in this organization. My family and I have really enjoyed our time in Washington and we have become part of the community. We’ve enjoyed getting to know the extremely knowledgeable and supportive fans that attend our games, and I'm very excited about the future of this organization."
Grunfeld joined the organization on June 30, 2003 and immediately went to work building the team's roster. Within 13 months, Grunfeld had signed free agent guard Gilbert Arenas and acquired forward Antawn Jamison in a draft day trade. Both players made their NBA All-Star debuts as Wizards and were the driving forces behind the team's playoff appearance in 2005. That playoff appearance and subsequent victory in the first round marked the franchise's first playoff series win in over two decades.
Prior to the 2005-06 season, Grunfeld continued to add to the nucleus of the roster by acquiring Caron Butler and Antonio Daniels. The team responded by making the playoffs for the second straight season; the first time the franchise appeared in the postseason in back-to-back years since 1988.
This past off-season, Grunfeld continued to look for ways to improve the team's roster and acquired 6-8 forward Darius Songaila and 6-5 guard DeShawn Stevenson. Both players are expected to give the team added depth, toughness and defensive presence, as the Wizards continue training camp in Richmond, Virginia.
Originally drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 1977 NBA Draft, Grunfeld played nine seasons in the NBA. He had well-documented success with both the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks as a top personnel executive prior to joining the Wizards. The 2006-07 season marks his 17th NBA season managing the on-court fortunes of an NBA team. In 2005, Grunfeld was named by USA Basketball to a panel of nine basketball executives that advises the United States' men's senior national program on matters including coaches and player selection.