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."
MORE WIZARDS NEWS: