The Wizards have until July 17 to waive Andray Blatche under the one-time amnesty provision, and the team is seriously considering parting ways with the 6-foot-11 forward, according to two league sources.
One person with knowledge of the situation said that there is a “fair” chance that the Wizards would give Blatche the remaining $23 million on his contract. Another source said the organization remained “hopeful” that the two sides could part ways.
Cutting Blatche would remove his salary from the cap — reducing the payroll by nearly $7 million next season — but he would still receive all of his money. Blatche signed a three-year, $28-million extension in September 2010 that would keep him with the team through 2014-15. But he has had two disappointing seasons, filled with uneven play on the court and questionable decisions away from the court. He regressed for the first time in his career last season, when he averaged just 8.5 points and was sent home to spend the final month improving his conditioning.
Blatche has worked out in Houston with John Lucas, but declined to comment when reached by phone recently. The Wizards continue to pursue trade options, but that is considered a longshot after Blatche attracted little to no attention at the trade deadline or around the time of the NBA draft.
The Wizards added big man Emeka Okafor from New Orleans in a trade last month, pushing Blatche further down on the depth chart. They acquired Okafor and Trevor Ariza instead of buying out Rashard Lewis for $13.7 million, raising the perception around some in the league that owner Ted Leonsis was unwilling to dump Blatche without getting anything in return.
Whenever asked about Blatche, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld has repeatedly said that he is “under contract.” ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported on Tuesday that the Wizards would send Blatche home, as they did last season, if they decide not to amnesty him.
Blatche has spent his entire career with the Wizards after being drafted 49th overall in the 2005 draft and he has career averages of 9.9 points and 5.4 rebounds.
Teams can begin using the amnesty provision once the league-wide moratorium on free agent signings ends at 12:01 a.m.
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