Southeast Notes: Grunfeld, Johnson, Howard

It’s been a down year for the Wizards, but team president Ernie Grunfeld doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, since he’s under contract for next season, league sources revealed to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The terms of Grunfeld’s pact hadn’t been clear, and it remains unknown when Grunfeld and owner Ted Leonsis included this season in the arrangement. The pressure remains on coach Randy Wittman, who’s also under contract for next season but with only a partial guarantee on his salary, and Wittman’s relationship with the team’s players has reportedly deteriorated.

See more from Washington amid items from the Southeast Division:

  • Two soon-to-be free agents on the Wizards have dropped their agents to instead hire Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, as SportsBusiness Journal reports in a subscription-only piece. Ramon Sessions left Allegiant Athletic Agency’s Jared Karnes to team up with Bartelstein while Garrett Temple parted with John Hamilton of Performance Sports Management.
  • Heat buyout market signee Joe Johnson isn’t giving the team quite as much return on its investment of late after a hot start, though coach Erik Spoelstra, among others, isn’t overly concerned, as Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald chronicles. Johnson will hit free agency again this summer after his short-term deal with Miami is over. “Joe’s a vet, an experienced guy,” said fellow soon-to-be free agent Luol Deng. “We’re not worried about the vet guys. He’ll be fine.”
  • Dwight Howard reportedly has interest in returning to the Magic, but the team would be unwise to give him the maximum salary of around $30MM that he and new agent Perry Rogers will no doubt request, opines Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Schmitz believes the Magic should stop at around $20MM and thinks the team would prefer to sign a free agent with less baggage.
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