Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld came in on what people thought had to be a hot seat. Despite having been the architect of the mid-2000's team that was either a disaster waiting to happen with Gilbert Arenas or the victim of bad luck, and the man behind the Nick Young-Andray Blatche-JaVale McGee era, Grunfeld had been constantly considered safe, in large part due to owner Ted Leonsis' unbelievable (and admirable) sense of loyalty.
But after the Wizards missed the playoffs last year, this was going to be a big one. Even with the progress they made, would he return next season with his contract up? With the team in this kind of position, wouldn't someone else stepping in to take the reigns going forward not be the worst idea?
Except the Washington Post reports that this isn't Grunfeld's last year on his deal.
May: Eastern Conference Semifinalist Ernie. After saving Ted Leonsis almost $100 million during a reputation-swallowing rebuild, the ErnDog showed he stills knows how to build a contender. No other GM observes Earth Day like Ernie, who is able to recycle trash into Trevor Ariza. Getting Marcin Gortat for Emeka Okafor before the season . . . brilliant. Andre Miller as a rent-a-vet? Solid. Oh, and who knew he had another year left on his deal after this season that no one knew about until now (That's right, a little news for you.)
So the Wizards have another year to evaluate Grunfeld... if they want. But considering the team just made the second round for the first time in a long time, and the changing perception of Grunfeld as Post columnist Mike Wise illuminates above, don't be shocked if it doesn't reach that point.
Leonsis wants a reason to reward Grunfeld and coach Randy Wittman, and he's gotten it. At this point it would be an upset if the two weren't extended for the foreseeable future.