Over a year ago, Andray Blatche introduced some of us to the idea of "Lapdance Tuesday." So it's only fitting, like a nine-dollar vodka and cranberry and an ill-conceived calf tattoo barely concealed by knee high boots, that the Washington Wizards have waived the mercurial forward on his holiest of high holidays. The Wizards have used the amnesty provision on Andray, knocking the final three years and $23 million of his contract off of their salary cap books. Blatche will receive the difference between the rest of that cash and the salary that his next team signs him to should another squad pick him up on the waiver wire.
Because, make no mistake, he will be signed again; if just perhaps not off the waiver wire. Blatche has size and touch, and those attributes will always find a home in the NBA. Though his heft sometimes makes Andray look older than the 26 candles he'll blow out on Aug. 22 (a Wednesday, unfortunately), the scoring forward will still be years removed from his prime while also a few years removed from putting up a pretty solid 17.6 Player Efficiency Rating in 2009-10. NBA teams love a reclamation project, especially on the cheap, and NBA GMs love signing the sorts of players they'd never want to coach. Andray clicks all those boxes.
Andray's time in D.C. didn't unfold as any of us had envisioned, and we felt it was best for the Wizards — and for Andray too — if we parted ways. I briefly got to know Andray, and I like him and wish him well, but he needs a fresh start somewhere, and we need to move forward with our current core group of players.
Cattiness from our end aside, Blatche was a frustrating watch. He was a throwback of sorts, to a time in the 1970s and 1980s that allowed for casual derision of the NBA as a portion of its players loped up and down the court seemingly thinking of nothing but their next low-percentage heave. Blatche has the size to post up but rarely did. He had the length to shoot over others but preferred to do it too far from the basket, the girth to bang but never the willingness. His defense is terrible. He was, and is, a waste of significant talent.
Until he turns it around, which is more than feasible. It better be, after the low point that was 2011-12.
We'll let our own Eric Freeman, in a post about Blatche's "Grand Finale" party in D.C. during the Wizards' last game of the season (one he wasn't around for, per request of the team), discuss how that season went down:
(Remember to click on all the links, for the backstory.)
It's been a rough season for Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche: he called out his coaching staff and teammates after the first game of the season, talked about accountability at a team meeting two weeks later with no sense of irony, was made to sit out to "get in shape" after returning from injury (he hasn't played at all, of course), and capped everything by understanding it was his fault things went so poorly.
Blatche, to his credit (somewhat), said he wanted to "apologize" to fans "for the effort I guess I gave out there." Which is … something?
The CSNWashington.com report also mentions that Blatche is spending the summer in Houston working with former NBA player and coach John Lucas, who has helped turn the attitudes around of many an NBA player while also failing to get through to just as many.
Andray will have a job next season, and the one after that at the very least. How he chooses to spend those years, and the potential seven or eight that could follow if he got it all together, is entirely up to him.
As it stands, I don't think one last Lapdance Tuesday would hurt, before fully committing to a career that has hit rock bottom.
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