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Although he has a rare disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, is in a wheelchair and generally comes into his office at Verizon Center only once a week, Mr. Pollin remains heavily involved in the team’s operations. He regularly speaks with Mr. Grunfeld, and he hasn’t allowed the illness to diminish his desire for the franchise’s second championship and first since the 1977-78 season.

“I do want to win a championship, and I’m not going to leave this business until I do,” Mr. Pollin said. “And I know our players, coaches and staff want to win more than anything else.

“I know how anxious everyone is to have our full team on the floor, and it has been a long, long time since we played a game with all of our players at full strength,” Mr. Pollin later added. “I think our fans realize that what they have seen this year is not indicative of what kind of team we really have.”

Mr. Pollin said he thinks Mr. Tapscott “has done the best job he could under the circumstances.”

“And he would be the first to tell you that this season has not gone the way he - or any of us - wanted it to go,” Mr. Pollin said.

But the owner declined to comment on whether Mr. Tapscott will return as head coach next season. “We will make our decision regarding the head coach position for next season when we’re ready,” Mr. Pollin said, “and I don’t feel it’s fair or appropriate to comment more at this time.”

Does Mr. Pollin have complete confidence in Mr. Grunfeld?

“Yes, absolutely,” he replied.

The Wizards will enter this offseason facing the challenge of freeing themselves of hefty salaries to be able to sign what likely will be a top-five draft pick. Thomas and point guard Mike James, who are scheduled to make $7.3 million and $6.5 million, respectively, are rumored to be prime targets to move.

Jamison and Butler have publicly stated their hope for the acquisition of a key veteran or two - in addition to the return of Arenas and Haywood - to help the Wizards improve their chances of contending next season. The likelihood of that happening while remaining under the spending limit is slim, however.

During occasional timeout breaks at recent home games, the team has aired videotaped speeches from Jamison in which the team captain thanks fans for their support and promises better days ahead. After the speech, the slogan “Determined to Deliver” appears on the screen.

Sticking steadfastly to that phrase, Mr. Pollin predicts a dramatic turnaround next season.

“My message to our fans is that we will return to the playoffs next season,” Mr. Pollin said, “and we will continue to do everything we can to put the best team possible on the floor.”