Blatche Seeks NBA Life After Amnesty

HANG TIME, TEXAS – There have been plenty of different reasons for teams to use the amnesty provision in the new collective bargaining agreement.

By severing their ties with Elton Brand, the Sixers put themselves in a position where they could eventually land Andrew Bynum to anchor the middle of their lineuip.

The Rockets let go of Luis Scola in part to clear space for their failed pursuit of Dwight Howard, but also as a next step in an extreme makeover of their roster.

The Suns released Josh Childress so they would have cap space to acquire Scola, who they hope will be a solid, steady veteran presence as they head in a new direction in the post-Steve Nash era.

Then there are the Wizards, who cut big man Andray Blatche because, well, it was time.

The dictionary definition of amnesty is: a forgetting or overlooking any past offenses.

After seven seasons of unrealized potential, frustration and immaturity, it might be difficult for the Wizards to completely forget all that Blatche never became, but it was clearly worth the $23 million it cost to turn him loose and turn the page.

Though Blatche used his departure to apologize to Wizards fans, he told Donna Ditota of the Syracuse Post-Standard that he was “kind of upset” at the way his on-court tenure in Washington ended when he was shut down for the season with a “NWT — conditioning” listing in a box score.

“The GMs came to me and said, ‘You know, you’ve been hurt, you’re out of shape, so let’s say that you’re working to get your body back right, to get over your wounds,’¤” Blatche said. “And then when I saw on the paper, not a DNP, but a conditioning, I was kind of upset because that’s not what we talked about. But I ran with it because conditioning was part of it. But it was moreso the injuries that caused the conditioning problem.”

That all came after the 6-foot-11 Blatche admittedly allowed himself to get out of shape while waiting for the lockout to end last fall, taking a Jamaican vacation and hanging out with old friends in Syracuse. When an agreement was reached to start the season on Christmas Day, Blatche was out of shape. He tore his calf muscle. He injured his shoulder.

Now the free agent Blatche is living in Houston, working out under the tutelage of ex-player and coach John Lucas, the salvager of lost careers, and hoping to find a path back into the league. There has been talk of interest from a pair of high-end teams in Miami and San Antonio.

“My dream destination right now would be back on the court. For real. Just to get back on the court,” he said. “It’s something I love to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Heat or the Spurs or the D League. Whatever. As long as I’m back on the court playing ball.

“I mean, I love the game. I’m a fan of the game. I love playing basketball. That’s the only thing I’ve been doing since I’ve been little. Basketball is something that is very, very important to me.”

There’s no doubt that with career averages of 9.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, Blatche delivered what might have been expected from a player taken with the 49th pick in the 2005 draft. But that expectation level rose when he signed a three-year, $35-million contract extension in 2010 and became a symbol of a dysfunctional, perennially underachieving Wizards team along with the likes of Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young and JaVale McGee.

“He’s shown the commitment to get in much better shape and the humility that comes with being amnestied,” Lucas said. “Some team will give him a chance. But nobody will take your word for it. You have to prove yourself.”

After all, amnesty only goes so far.

20 Comments

  1. leggomymelo says:

    Blatche obviously has talent. He wouldn’t have lasted this long if he didn’t. I want to believe that, if he were on a different team he would’ve been able to buckle down and become the player he could be. His coaching staff has changed several times, excluding Antawn Jamison and Caron butler, there was never a great role model for him on the team. Gilbert? The team was continually a bottom feeder. I’m not making an excuse for him, but i definitely feel like. had he been in a better team environment, he could’ve been consistently good.

  2. Jack says:

    gimme that rebound gimme that rebound :D

  3. james says:

    if he want to win go with the miami heat just dat let go miami

  4. james says:

    he will sing with the miami heat because is a good fit for the heat miami need more bigs and some one on the post thant just boshI hope he’ll sign with Miami if they offer him a contract

  5. Mino says:

    hes absolutely insane.

    hes talented but he’s like a freaking oil spill in the locker room.

  6. LakerBoy says:

    If only Phil Jackson were still here he’d know what to do

    • FakerBoy says:

      Phil Jackson just had great players win him rings while he sat on the bench just enjoying the view. Kobe, Shaq, MJ……won those rings. Pop can turn something out of nothing, and Blatche’s play right now is worth nothing. The Spurs would be a good fit for Blatche if Pop wanted to deal with him.

      • Giddi says:

        Totally true, because Robinson, Ginobili, Parker and especially Duncan are/were such bad players and only Pop would know what to do with them, without him they would be D-League player at best.

      • leggomymelo says:

        @Fakerboy- yeah, because Jordan, Shaq, and Kobe were already winning rings without him….

  7. Marc says:

    If anyone can get his potential out and get him in line, it’s Pop. Hope the Spurs get him cause we need a big.

    • Average Joe says:

      Agreed. He wouldn’t work out in Miami. There’s too much risk of his ego again getting the better of himself. Spoelstra can’t handle that. The only who can handle head cases like him is Pop.

  8. Bret says:

    Blatche has too much size and talent to stay unemployed. He’s a head-case, no doubt about it, but working with Lucas is a good place to start in getting his head straight. I’d like to see him reach his potential but it’ll take him being committed to changing his ways and getting an opportunity with the right team. I think its more likely the Spurs would be that team than Miami. Miami is already boiling over with egos, but the Spurs could be a nice fit. He could learn behind Duncan, and they’d have a nice post presence to come off the bench in their efforts to stay among the top teams in the West. Wherever he goes, he needs to veteran presence to keep him in check.

    • jasonC says:

      Nicely said, Bret!

    • jc says:

      Did you really just say post presence? are you serious? please watch any game blatche has played in his career and tell me how often you see that boy in the post. If you want an inconsistent shooter that likes to take fade away jumpers from 15-18feet blatche is your man. Don’t forget about his mad dribbles with his awkward behind the back crossover that doesn’t fool anyone. Seriously though just watch a game that blatche has played. When he does get in the post one of two things happen…He loses the ball by means of a steal, rejection, or just dribbling off his own feet, or he will back it out and shoot a jumper. You can forget about rebounds as well, the only time he will try to rebound is if he’s about to get a triple double. (yeah we all love that video)

  9. David says:

    Lets hope the spurs acquire him, Lakers need to be the Hear in 2013!

  10. Hilo Dan says:

    He’s going to have to do something besides talk. His on-court performances have been so inconsistent and so childishly self-centered that no team is going to take him without serious doubts. He’ll maybe get a non-guaranteed contract, or he ma have to go overseas to try to rub the tarnish off.

  11. That’s as good as Brian Scalabrine saying ” Put me in Coach”

  12. mike says:

    I hope he’ll sign with Miami if they offer him a contract regardless of the amount