Being Ernie Grunfeld

The Wiz GM is cool as a cucumber while his mind is in a whirlwind

Amare Stoudemire, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, Manu Ginobili, Michael Redd, Josh Smith, Josh Howard, Kirk Hinrich and Andrei Kirilenko are just of the few of the tiny players jumping over a fence in the mind of the restless Ernie Grunfeld as he tries to fall into a slumber every night leading up to the draft on June 25.

But he can't sleep. He sits up in bed, drenched in sweat. It's 3:30 in the morning and he's trying to plod through the day's ninth showing of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. But the show doesn't help take his thoughts away from the matter at hand. His mind is racing through Wizards trade scenarios instead. And if you don't pay attention to those damned Law & Orders, especially the crime at the beginning, the show just becomes a scrambled mess.

The mess, parallel to the team Grunfeld commands, spills into the night and into the next day, all of which are becoming the same. The Wizards GM is on the verge of making the most important move during his tenure with the team.

The brilliance of signing Gilbert Arenas when Golden State didn't have enough money (a move that would later become a "provision" in the NBA's collective bargaining agreement), nabbing Antawn Jamison from Dallas, even getting rid of Kwame "Cake" Brown in exchange for Caron Butler ... all easy moves compared to the task at Grunfeld's hand.

Closing windows on aging players, an owner rolling towards the horizon, sunset at his face, and a city so desperate for sports success that rioting like the idiots in L.A. would be the furthest from their mind, the pressure on GM Gruns to make the Wiz a championship contender is mounting.

But the man has pipes made of platinum, they're not going to burst. You'll never see Grunfeld sweat in public. Ernie's had the same undershirt for more than 10 years with nary a yellow pit stain. He keeps his cards close to his vest and secrets better than the Romanian Securitate. He's been known treat his friend's to McDonald's and wine and dine his enemies at the Inn at Little Washington. Grunfeld is intense without ever showing it.

With the 5th pick as valuable as it will ever be, expect a blockbuster move leading up to or on draft night. It won't be easy, but Grunfeld is known for the ability to make big risk, high reward moves. If the GM can pull a coup and get Amare Stoudemire without giving up Caron Butler, or even Antawn Jamison, then the Wizards just may be anointed off-season paper champions, a title usually reserved for Danny Snyder's Redskins.

Kyle Weidie is a D.C. resident who writes Truth About It and contributes to Bullets Forever, both Washington Wizards blogs. Follow the latest Washington Wizards news on Tumblr.

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