They have continued to support Blatche despite his actions that have embarrassed the franchise, rewarded him with two contract extensions and attributed many of his missteps to youthful inexperience.
Now, the Wizards should do something else for Blatche: Trade him. It’s time for President Ernie Grunfeld to accept that Blatche should fade into Washington’s past because he doesn’t fit into the future that owner Ted Leonsis envisions.
The Wizards should move on without Blatche for their benefit while moving him elsewhere for his, because he clearly needs a fresh start away from the District.
There have been bad signs about their union from the start.
A few weeks before his first training camp as a rookie, Blatche was shot in a botched carjacking attempt near his home in Alexandria. Although anyone could be a crime victim anywhere, the incident stirred media and fan speculation, which continues, about Blatche’s questionable decision-making.
During the summer of 2007, Blatche was charged with sexual solicitation after requesting sex from an undercover officer. In 2008, he was arrested on charges of reckless driving and driving on a suspended license for the third time.
Last season, Blatche was booted from practice and suspended for a game for essentially having a bad attitude. He also was benched for the majority of another game for similar reasons on the night the Wizards’ public relations department increased its efforts to help him win the NBA’s most-improved player award.
This season, the Wizards suspended Blatche one game for his involvement in an altercation outside an area club with teammate JaVale McGee, who also served a one-game suspension. And someone writing from Blatche’s Twitter account challenged a person to a fight.
Blatche’s transgressions haven’t exactly risen to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, but his pattern of behavior doesn’t inspire confidence that he’s maturing. And that’s the problem.
No matter how many chances Blatche has received, no matter how much the Wizards hope he’ll display growth, there is no evidence Blatche will ever “get it.” At 24, Blatche is a veteran by NBA standards. He’s a senior member, in terms of service time, of a team that’s all about its youth movement.
In fairness to Blatche, he has only played regularly for an entire season since the beginning of this one. But he has been in the league since he was 19, so that’s plenty of time to turn the corner.
“’Dray is a work in progress, just like the rest of our team is right now,” Grunfeld said recently. “He’s trying and working on it. This is really the first season where he’s gotten significant minutes for the whole season.”
Wizards officials encourage you to speak with Blatche, saying he’s a good person.
Sure enough, Blatche comes across more as a misguided kid rather than a bad guy. But in discussing his Wizards career, Blatche seems unwilling to examine what he sees in the mirror.