Wizards May Choose to Free Up Cap Room
Under the one-time amnesty provision, the Wizards have until July 17 to release Andray Blatche. According to two league sources, the team is strongly considering waiving the 6-foot-11 forward.
One source said that the organization is still hopeful, while another said there is a "fair" chance that the team would simply give Blatche the remaining $23 million on his contract. Releasing Blatche would remove his salary from the cap, which would reduce next season's payroll by almost $7 million. However, he would still get all of the money.
In September 2010, Blatche signed a three-year, $28 million contract extension that was meant to keep him with the team through 2014-15.
But his last two seasons have been disappointing. His play has been inconsistent, and his off-court behavior has been marred by questionable decisions. He took a step backwards for the first time in his career last season, when he averaged only 8.5 points per game and was sent home for the final month to improve his conditioning level.
Blatche has spent time in Houston working out with John Lucas, but had no comment on the matter. The Wizards are still looking for trade options, but many NBA analysts feel it's unlikely because Blatche drew little to no attention around the trade deadline or at the time of the NBA draft.
Last month, Blatche was moved even further down on the depth chart when the Wizards acquired Emeka Okafor from New Orleans. They added Trevor Ariza and Okafor rather than buying out Rashard Lewis for $13.7 million, increasing the perception amongst some in the league that owner Ted Leonsis didn't want to waive Blatche without getting anything in return.
Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld has consistently stated that Blatche is "under contract." Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported on Tuesday that if the Wizards decide not to amnesty Blatche, they would send him home in the same manner as last season.
After being drafted 49th overall in the 2005 draft, Blatche has spent his entire career in Washington and has averaged 9.9 points and 5.4 rebounds over his career.
With the ending on July 11 of the league-wide moratorium on free agent signings, teams can now begin using the amnesty provision.