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Scott Brooks surprised by Ernie Grunfeld firing, acknowledges tough year ahead for Wizards

Scott Brooks surprised by Ernie Grunfeld firing, acknowledges tough year ahead for Wizards

If you would have told the Washington Wizards at the start of their 2018-19 campaign that they would lose their star point guard for an extended period of time, would miss the playoffs for the first time in two seasons and fire team president Ernie Grunfeld before the end of the season, they probably would have had a few choice words for you.

Grunfeld's firing Tuesday came after one of the most challenging seasons in Wizards recent history and after 16 seasons that were filled with the highs of playoff success and the several lows.  

Long before being eliminated from the playoffs last week, owner Ted Leonsis hinted that significant changes would be made. However, head coach Scott Brooks didn't see Grunfeld's firing coming and doesn't think the team president did either.

"You know what, I had no clue," Brooks told 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies Wednesday. "I don't think Ernie [Grunfeld] had any clue that this would happen."

Brooks, who is wrapping up his third season as head coach, knows the team's failures this season were due to various reasons, many that were out of his control. Despite all of that, Brooks is disappointed in himself.

"The bottom line is its disappointing," Brooks added. "We all want to be in the playoffs and we're not there. I feel disappointed that I let a lot of people down, including Ernie."

The firing brings what some could argue as a breath of fresh air and clean slate for a team that hasn't been able to catch a break over the last year. 

Leonsis and the Wizards front office will now begin their hunt for Grunfeld's replacement with one of the top candidates already being in-house. With Wall's injury acting as a cloud hanging over their heads and their offseason decisions having a greater impact than usual, Brooks sees this as a prime opportunity for someone to make their mark on a franchise. 

"Well, its going to be a great opportunity for the next general manger to come in and shape the team," Brooks added. He's going to come in with a vision because we do, like you said, we have five players and plus a first-round pick coming up and so it's going to be a very important summer with John [Wall] being out. You know, we have to be very creative. Not going to make an excuse that it's going to be a tough year, but it's going to be a challenging year."

While bringing in a new general manager represents positive change, it could also bring negative change for those already within the organization. Brooks, who signed a five-year deal worth $35 million back in 2016, isn't worried about the new guy kicking him to the curb.

"I've been in the league a long time, 30 years as a player and coach," Brooks said. "I understand those things happen. And I've always felt if somebody's deserving of my job, so be it but I'm going to continue to work as hard as I can. Ted [Leonsis] has given me a great opportunity in an incredible city, and we have a job to do and we have a challenge ahead of us. We're all disappointed, but I'm looking forward to Ted [Leonsis'] decision and moving froward with the new guy." 

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Local teams, stars congratulate Elena Delle Donne on historic second WNBA MVP award

Local teams, stars congratulate Elena Delle Donne on historic second WNBA MVP award

Elena Delle Donne is, once again, the Most Valuable Player in the WNBA.

She's the first player in WNBA history to earn the honor with two different teams.

"I am extremely proud of this honor, but we still have work ahead of us and we’re all focused playing our hardest to bring a championship to Washington," Delle Donne said in a release.

After the announcement of Delle Donne's historic achievement, her teammates and the greater D.C. sports community showered her with praise all over social media.

Delle Donne and the Mystics will take on the Las Vegas Aces in Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday night.

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Elena Delle Donne named 2019 WNBA MVP for the second time following historic season

Elena Delle Donne named 2019 WNBA MVP for the second time following historic season

Elena Delle Donne has done it again.

For the second time in her career, the Washington Mystics' star has been named the WNBA MVP, Monumental Sports announced Thursday.

Delle Donne is the first WNBA player to earn the prestigious award with two teams, her 2015 honor while with the Chicago Sky.

“I would like to thank my teammates and coaches and our wonderful fans--I have the greatest teammates in the world, our coaches have put us in a position to succeed by forming this awesome unit and the energy of our fans has given us the best home-court atmosphere in the league,” Delle Donne said in the statement.

“Everyone has had a part in this, especially my wife and family, and it took a lot of hard work and focus from all of us together to get to this point.  I am extremely proud of this honor, but we still have work ahead of us and we’re all focused playing our hardest to bring a championship to Washington.”

During her 2019 season with the Mystics, Delle Donne averaged 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists, securing her spot on the All-Star team for the sixth time. Her most unbelievable feat, however, was becoming the first WNBA player to join the prestigious 50/40/90 club.

Delle Donne earned 51.5 percent from the field, 43.03 percent from beyond the arc and an incredible 97.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Steve Nash, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki and Malcolm Brogdon are the only players in the history of the NBA to accomplish that feat.

The Mystics look for another win Thursday night en route to a Championship against the Las Vegas Aces for Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals at 8:30 p.m.

You can watch the game on ESPN 2.

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