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The event Washington Wizards fans have yearned for for 16 years has finally come to pass. In a statement this afternoon, team owner Ted Leonsis announced that team president Ernie Grunfeld “has been relieved of his duties,” effective immediately. Wizards fans have, of course, taken to Twitter to celebrate.
“Reality finally trumped Stability,” prolific Wizards tweeter Adam McGinnis wrote in response to the news.
“THE BAD MAN CANT HURT US ANYMORE,” wrote Reginald, another fan.
Bullets Forever, the SB Nation site dedicated to the team, had a simpler response. “Finally.”
According to Leonsis, he made the decision to dismiss Grunfeld on his own, but fans and reporters have been calling for Grunfeld’s exit with increased frequency this year. The Ringer, in a December 2018 story, called Grunfeld’s tenure “one prolonged bummer,” and City Paper‘s Brian Murphy described the lack of patience with Grunfeld before this disappointing season even started. Even all-star guard Bradley Beal directed his frustration at Grunfeld during a “volatile practice” in November.
Over Grunfeld’s tenure, the team amassed a record of 568 wins and 724 losses. They made the playoffs in eight of the seasons he was in charge, but failed to make it past of the second round. The three NBA general managers who’ve been in their jobs longer than Grunfeld—Miami’s Pat Riley, San Antonio’s R.C. Buford, and Boston’s Danny Ainge—have all seen their teams win championships and make additional Finals appearances during their tenures.
Tommy Sheppard, the Wizards’ senior vice president of basketball operations, will fill Grunfeld’s role in the interim and will be considered for the full-time gig.
Grunfeld did leave fans with a parting gift: John Wall‘s massive salary, which the injured guard will collect off the court while recovering from an Achilles tendon rupture.