Scott Brooks shocked by Ernie Grunfeld firing: 'I had no clue.'

Josh Luckenbaugh
April 03, 2019 - 9:12 am

While many had anticipated an organizational shakeup after the Wizards were eliminated for playoff contention, Tuesday's firing of team president Ernie Grunfeld shocked head coach Scott Brooks

"I had no clue. I don't think Ernie had any clue that this would happen," Brooks said during his biweekly appearance on The Sports Junkies, presented by Greenberg & Bederman.

"We know we've had a tough season, and there's a lot of reasons why. The bottom line is, it's disappointing. We all want to be in the playoffs and we're not there, myself included. I feel disappointed that I let a lot of people down, including Ernie."

"But I knew something was different yesterday, because Ernie's always at practice. He's here every day, we talk every day, he's always here. And I'm on the court and I look up, and I don't see him in his office ready to come down. So I knew something was different but it didn't even cross my mind."

"And then I get informed that (Wizards owner) Ted (Leonsis) is on his way and he wants to talk to me that he relieved Ernie of his duties," Brooks continued. "It was tough, it was definitely emotional. It's tough, Ernie's like by everybody. I don't know anybody who doesn't like Ernie." 

Brooks, who has known Grunfeld since his playing days with the Knicks when Grunfeld was the GM in New York, said he's going to miss Grunfeld, but understands it's the nature of the business when teams don't meet their goals. 

"Ted had to make a tough decision," Brooks told the Junkies. "It’s never easy, but when you have a tough season like we’ve had, a lot of times these things happen. It's just part of the business we all love."

"Ernie was great with me. I'm gonna miss him. We talked yesterday, Ernie and I had a great conversation. We're no longer gonna be working together, but we're gonna be friends for life. That's the great part about this business. You have relationships, and you keep them for life."

As for his own role in the future of the franchise, Brooks says he's excited to work with the new GM on rebuilding the Wizards for the 2019-20 season.

"Ted 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," Brooks said. "I'm more disappointed in myself, our players are disappointed that we haven't won enough games."

"But that's what you have to go into the summer (with) and be fired up going into next season. The new general manager, he's gonna have a great opportunity. But I'm looking forward to Ted's decision and moving forward with the new guy."

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