Andray Blatche remains unemployed more than a month after the Wizards used the amnesty provision to end a seven-year relationship with him. Blatche apologized to fans for his effort on the way out the door, understanding that he was largely responsible for the circumstances that led to his ouster.
But in an interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard, Blatche said he was “kind of upset” with how his last days with the Wizards played out — specifically, the team listing his initial absence in Nene’s debut against New Jersey as “NWT-Conditioning.” Blatche said he agreed that the injuries that contributed to his disappointing final campaign were a direct result to arriving in training camp out of shape after the lockout.
But he didn’t appreciate how the organization dealt with the situation.
“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.”
Blatche attempted to make amends for his missteps last offseason when he worked out regularly and organized some workouts locally that could only attract two teammates. But his commitment to the program veered off and he became more disenchanted as the lockout dragged on.
After proclaiming his willingness “to die” to show his dedication to having success, Blatche stumbled several times as he averaged just 8.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 26 games. In his final game in a Wizards uniform, Blatche had a miserable outing in Memphis and was shut down the next day.
He has been working out in Houston with former NBA coach John Lucas and has reportedly lost close to 15 pounds after arriving at a “soft 282 pounds.” Blatche has yet to attract significant interest from NBA teams, though Miami and San Antonio both reportedly expressed exploratory interest in his services.
Blatche, who turns 26 on Wednesday, has split his time this offseason between Miami and Houston but he is eager to play anywhere.
“My dream destination right now would be back on the court. For real. Just to get back on the court,” Blatche told the newspaper. “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.”
In his time in Washington, Blatche exceeded the normal production for his draft position (49th overall in 2005) but failed to meet the expectations that arrived when he signed a three-year extension in September 2010. In the Post-Standard story, Blatche explained why he was never able to fully tap into the talent that several former teammates have repeatedly claimed that he possessed.
“It was difficult — coming from Syracuse, a small city, going to a big city like D.C., where there were a lot of colleges and probably one of the craziest nightlifes,” Blatche said. “I got there as a young kid and I didn’t have my priorities straight at first. I was moreso basketball and having fun. But basketball wasn’t about having fun any more. It was my job. It took me a few years to realize that. And once I did, I was better.”
He also stated that it was probably time for both sides to part ways. “It was very tough,” Blatche said. “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.”