If you don’t know why former Washington Wizards center Andray Blatche was released via the Amnesty clause in July, I advise you to read the 12 most memorable Blatche moments via the Washington Post.
Here are a few of those: Blatche was once labeled “conditioning” in a Wizards box score, he told reporters he lost some weight by getting a hair cut, and he changed his number during one Summer League after having played in the NBA for four years.
This is a guy who was publicly booed by his own fans because he called out the organization in a hypocritical manner. Right now, Blatche is in need of an image change, and it appears he’s taken the first steps toward making that transformation.
Going back to his hometown of Syracuse recently, Blatche held his fourth annual Andray Blatche Foundation day. Many kids and spectators turned out for the event, and according to Donna Ditota of Syracuse.com, Blatche was there to give back to the community he grew up in.
However, it doesn’t stop with just giving back to the community, Blatche is also in the process of working on his image as a player, as he seeks employment from a new NBA team. Ditota writes that former San Antonio Spurs player and head coach John Lucas has taken Blatche under his wing and is working with the 25-year old big man to improve his traits both on and off the court.
A few years ago, Lucas started a program called the “Athletes After Care Program” where he helps struggling athletes and others with mainly drug and addiction problems, but also mentors others as a "life coach." He's put Blatche on a training program since May and it seems to be working.
Blatche bought a condominium in Houston, where he has lived since May. Lucas instituted a regimen of yoga, weights and basketball for Blatche to trim what was once a soft 282 pounds into the firmer, trimmer 268 he weighs today.
For Blatche, his biggest struggle was the levels of immaturity to which he displayed during his tenure with the Wizards. Lucas might be the answer, but he himself sees being amnestied by the Wizards as a blessing in disguise.
“It was very tough,” Blatche said Friday. “It seemed like the Wizards had a string of bad luck with the gun situation and so on. Me getting amnesty this year wasn’t more of a hurt to me, it was more of a blessing to me. I’m looking at that as giving me a chance to go somewhere else and revive my career and become the player I used to be.”
The Spurs and Miami Heat are two teams rumored to be interested in Blatche, as both have veteran squads with winning track records. I’ve already discussed in the past how San Antonio would be a better option for Blatche to stay low-key, because of their very quiet presence in the media, where as in Miami the Heat are being watched for their every move.
For Blatche, he's excited to take a job with any new NBA team, including the Spurs, Heat, or even in the D-League according to Ditota.
“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.
You don’t find many 6’11” big men who are still young and have untapped potential out on the free agent market everyday. Right now, Blatche is in a special situation. When you consider the move the Los Angeles Lakers made in trading for Dwight Howard, Blatche has every opportunity to make the change in himself to better his future and possibly join a winning organization and culture.
Will the transformation of Blatche really happen? Only Blatche possesses the answer to that question. As of right now, Lucas says Blatche is doing what he must to repair his damaged image.
“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.”
Why would Blatche go to Miami anyway? Miami has practically four 7 footers already. They have 2 guys who are listed at exactly 7 feet, and they have 2 guys listed at 6-11. Miami doesn't need him. The spurs have only two guys ABOVE 6'10 (I don't count bonner, he plays on the perimeter than in the paint) , we are in more need of Blatche than Miami. Plus I'm sure the leadership of Tim Duncan and Pop, mixed with some toughness of Stephen Jackson would do good things for Blatche.
@ajd21 Just the better shot at a ring and the beach/party atmosphere (which would be terrible for him) No way he gets more PT in Miami
@Spursfan66 I see you don't have enough trust in your squad to believe Blatche would have a better shot to win the title wit spurs! Ya I found you
Blatche would have great mentors in the Spurs in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker if he were in the Spurs.
God get him. Just get him. We need a big man. We are not looking for the next Tim Duncan, just a cheap, YOUNG, big guy who doesn't suck that bad. I mean, Blatche showed he can be productive. His best year was 2010-2011 where he averaged 16.8 ppg and 8.3 rpg, not bad. Plus, Stephen Jackson actually beat the crap out of some fans, and Pop is the only guy that can coach him. I think Blatche wouldn't be a problem for Pop.
If Coach Pop can handle Jackson then I think he would be able to handle Blatche. If Blatche actually focusses on his basketball then there is alot of upside to the guy, especially if they can get him for cheap.
It will be interesting what the Spurs do after this season is over, given that Duncan and Ginobli will be another year closer to retirement, Parker will be another year older, and significant players like Jackson, are out of contract. Does anyone think that the Spurs may ship Parker (maybe with some other players) after this season in order to start rebuilding for the post Duncan (and hence Coach Pop)/Manu era? Personally I think the only players that are untouchable at the moment are Duncan, Manu and Leonard, everyone else could be used in trades. And if Blatche worked out as a good bench big then maybe package Parker for another (someone like Bogut, Varejao, Chandler).
Just thinking out aloud...
@OzSpur I would say even manu is touchable. It all depends on what we get in return. I know every year people think to is getting traded, but this year feels different. We are stacked at point guards, his stock is high and we have need for a talented big man. I think there is something brewing, but i couldn't tell you if it will be a big or small move. But I keep checking here several times a day expecting to see the words "traded for" in a headline...
We just need to sign him to a one year or two year deal with a team option already! He sounds like he's willing to work for peanuts, so what do we have to lose? If we could convince another team to sign him maybe we could do a sign and trade for Blair or Blair/Neal. Idk if that's possible, but it would keep us below salary cap and cost another team nothing but salary, they won't give up anything since they didn't want Blatche anyway. Just a thought.
The contracts of both Blair and Neal I think are not guaranteed(correct me if i'm wrong), so all the spurs have to do is waive them. At 25 yrs old, Blatche is young and can learn. As I said, with a very patient coaching staff in no time he will the system. Its about time they take a risk on Blatche.
@rtesoro440 @spursfan80 lol Why would a GM with even HALF a brain waive players with good trade value? Spurs have an open spot AND the ability to sign a player to minimum contract WITHOUT waiving anyone. And Blatche is very unlikely to get more than min offer from anyone. Plus, he's already getting paid millions by wiz, so he shouldn't be against signing a minimum deal.
What I find funny is that in the 1st Blatche thread, when so many others were on board with getting Blatche, YOU said he needs to PROVE himself first. Flip-flop much?
@rtesoro440 @spursfan80 lol OMG, now you're actually saying Spurs should SAVE $?? Are you serious? How many posts have you written whining about Spurs do NOT invest in the team, and only the teams that spend most will win chips? Unbelievable. There is only ONE way Blatche can "prove" anything (and even that is not really substantial proof), and that is doing what he's doing now with Lucas. How else do you contend he can "prove" himself without signing with someone else and being productive/sane?
And you think I'm "keeping tabs" on your posts? lol No, I just tend to remember the more ridiculous ones. And Spurs HAVE, MANY times carried 15 man roster..how about just LAST year? lol www.nba.com/spurs/roster/2011
And, if Blatche is signed it's VERY unlikely he immediately plays more than Blair. And same with Nando, Neal would get more PT to start the season. DO you follow the spurs at ALL?
My original point remains..there would be NO reason for Spurs to just waive them without at least trying to trade them into the season. If ANYONE gets waived, it will be Byars.
Maybe its the last chance for the Spurs to have a big guy. No flip-flop. I see you are keeping tab with my post. Will it do harm for him to prove something? I don't think so. The Spurs I think they never filled up the lineup to 15. .Besides, if Blatche is signed Blair will only be riding the bench. Same with Neal after deColo was signed. And, the Spurs will be saving $ by waiving some players. These players are redundant
@spursfan80 I think you meant under lux tax as Spurs are already way over the cap. So we would have to get him at vet min deal which shouldn't be a non-starter considering wiz will be paying him millions in next couple years.
If Pop can deal with Jackson and his singing songs like "Swag Mean", I'm sure that he can handle Blatche just fine.
@DavidSalazar Certainly helps his case to be saying the "right" things, committing to bettering himself, and the Lucas/spurs connection could be a factor as well in getting him in town
@24writer I really think signing him is a no brainier. He's dumb, but he's young, big and they can probably get him cheap.