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Ernie Grunfeld sticking with the plan for Wizards

Apr 24, 2013, 10:55 AM EDT

Ernie Grunfeld Getty Images

The Wizards roster that was assembled over the last year was really a multi-year plan — Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Nene each had multiple years on their contracts. The Wizards were locking themselves in.

So it shouldn’t be a shock that team president Ernie Grunfeld said the goal is to stick with the plan in Washington. He spoke with the media, including our man Ben Standig at CSNWashington.com, and the focus was largely “let’s see what this roster can do when healthy.”

First and foremost on the list this summer for the Wizards is to extend John Wall’s contract. But do you give him the max he wants?

“I think John had a very good year, and he showed that he makes a difference on the team. There’s no question about that, and he’s eligible for an extension. July 1 is the first day we can talk about that, and we’ll have conversations with him, his representatives, to see if we can work something out

Obviously, we’ve said all along that we’re building this team around John and with John. We want to have him here long term.

I think Wall is going to get a healthy offer from the Wizards, but not a max. Then the ball is in his court.

The Wizards have talked about re-signing free agent Martell Webster, that is a priority. But what about the other young players on the team who will be back on their rookie deals — Jan Vesley, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin?

“I think this is a big summer for all of them. They all need to improve, they all need to work hard. They all have a plan this summer, they will all be doing different things. Obviously, we did add six new players and those players got significant playing time. Consequently, those players didn’t play as much as they did the year before because we probably had better players this time at those positions and more experienced at this time. This is a big summer for the players and they have to improve. I think when they did get their opportunities, they had some productive moments, but it’s hard to play on a consistent level if you don’t have the consistent minutes.”

Look for Bradley Beal, Vesley and Singleton to play for the Wizards in Summer League.

And the other thing that seemed clear — Randy Wittman will be back as coach.

“I think Randy did a very good job for us this season. He kept the ship afloat. Kept the guys motivated. Kept them competitive on a nightly basis.”

Bottom line, Grunfeld wants to see what this lineup can do when healthy — which at the end of last season was an above .500 team, a playoff team. That’s the goal for next season.

  1. spthegr8 - Apr 24, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    If Ernie’s ” Plan” is too keep the Wizards stuck in mediocrity. Then I’d say he is riiiiight on schedule. How this guy still has a job is MIND BLOWING!! He has been ruining that team for years!!

    • sire2334 - Apr 24, 2013 at 3:59 PM

      How are there any thumbs down for this comment? Regardless of what you think of Ernie, he hasn’t gotten it done and he’s had plenty of time to do so.

      • thirdistheworrd - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:39 PM

        Seriously. Ernie is the worst thing that has ever happened to any team anywhere ever. Sometimes I feel like he’s actually working for another team in order to keep the Wizards down– just remembering how he gave Ricky Rubio to the Timberwolves for Mike Miller and Randy Foye still makes me want to throw up.

  2. blantoncollier - Apr 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Ernie still rns this team?
    Its like Groundhog day—he keeps his job and changes the plan.

  3. cantonbound13 - Apr 24, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Nice to know that there may be a plan.

    • thirdistheworrd - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:47 PM

      Yeah, it’s a real solid plan too. Keep using aging mediocre players with huge contracts to fill up all your cap space, guaranteeing that you won’t be able to sign a big-name free agent ever. Oh, and then let your star player go… “we’ll have conversations with him, his representatives, to see if we can work something out”.

      Only plus side is that if Wall walks, Stern will feel bad for us and rig next year’s lottery so that we get Andrew Wiggins.

    • thirdistheworrd - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:48 PM

      No, it’s always been the same plan, to destroy Washington from the inside. I blame John Mara.

  4. aboogy123456 - Apr 24, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Give John Wall a couple years and he will be a top 3 player in this league. Ahead of Durant for sure. He just makes the whole team so much better when he’s on the floor, and he has the athleticism to do whatever he wants.

    • thirdistheworrd - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      How can you troll a team that sucks? Go away.

  5. moseskkim - Apr 24, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Beal and wall that’s a great backcourt duo. Wall was a beast down the stretch and beal when healthy showed he can be a borderline all star in the future. Martell played well and okafor was consistent all year but they need a few more consistent pieces to make it work. Luckily they are in the eastern conference

  6. eugenesaxe - Apr 24, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    If they don’t offer the max, he’ll pull a Love and demand an early-exit clause. Bye-bye cornerstone.

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