He regressed statistically for the first time in his career last season, averaging just 8.5 points and 5.8 rebounds, and Coach Randy Wittman shut him down in March for what the Wizards termed poor conditioning. That decision coincided with the debut of Nene, who was acquired from Denver in a deal that also shipped out McGee and Nick Young. The Wizards finished the season 10-11 without Blatche in uniform.
Blatche, McGee and Young were some of the more prominent faces during the worst four-year run in franchise history. Since the start of the 2008-09 season, the Wizards have gone 88-224.
Blatche has been working out in Houston with former NBA coach John Lucas, but he was viewed as expendable with the Wizards moving in a different direction around former No. 1 overall pick John Wall. Wall, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin, all entering their third seasons, are now the longest-tenured Wizards.
“Andray did not figure into our future plans, and using the amnesty provision is a mutually beneficial opportunity for us to part ways,” Grunfeld said in a statement. “We will be able to continue to develop our core group of young players, blend in the solid veterans we have acquired and maintain financial flexibility while Andray will be able to get a fresh start with another team. We wish him the best moving forward.”
Blatche becomes the sixth player to be waived this month — 15 overall were waived — under the amnesty provision, which allows teams to cut a player and have their salary removed from the books.
If they hadn’t waived Blatche, the Wizards considered paying him to stay away from the franchise. The move reduced the team’s payroll for next season to roughly $54 million — or about $4 million below the salary cap — for 12 players.
Blatche will receive his money over the same three-year period, but he will stand the chance to earn more money if he clears waivers, as expected, in the next 48 hours.
Blatche did not respond to a phone call and text message seeking comment.
“We appreciate the opportunity to have a fresh start and appreciate the time, effort and care shown by the Wizards,” Blatche’s agent, Andy Miller, said after being informed of the decision.