5 Brooklyn Nets Offseason Questions: #1: What to do with Andray Blatche.

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Andray Blatche, Emeka Okafor
Andray Blatche shooting against his former team. (AP)

Andray Blatche is coming off a career season in pretty much every single way possible — after leaving Washington in disgrace a year ago, Blatche averaged a robust 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes, making him the only player in the NBA to average at least 19-9-2-2 per 36, and shot a career-best 51.2% from the field. The team was at its best with Blatche playing with Brook Lopez in the playoffs, as the two made for a devastating offensive tandem.

Since the Nets are currently a taxpaying team — and barring huge moves, won’t be a non-taxpayer or under the “tax apron” for a few years — the most the franchise can offer Blatche is the mini mid-level exception, a three-year contract worth around $9.98 million.

Whether or not Blatche can earn that or more on the open market remains to be seen — despite his excellent play, his reputation precedes him, and an off-court incident in January doesn’t help — but any team with cap room or an exception is free to throw their money at him.

With that said, Andray Blatche has a unique contract situation and vengeance that may make him inclined to take less money after all.

Due to the aforementioned Andray amnesty, Washington is on the hook for a portion of Blatche’s contract called the “offset formula” next season. Because they amnestied him, the Wizards have to pay the amount due to him next year from their original contract ($7,794,921 next season), minus half the difference between a league minimum salary and the contract Blatche signs.

So the more money Blatche makes, the less Washington has to pay him — and Blatche is reportedly just spiteful enough to potentially take less to screw Washington over.

Sleazy? Kind of. But in Blatche’s eyes, he’d be taking a pay cut to make the organization that he says “tried to ruin” his reputation suffer. Seems noble if you’re stuck in Andray Blatche’s brain.

But truthfully, Blatche’s success puts the Nets in the same conundrum that they had with electrifying forward Gerald Green last season — if any other team that wants to offer him more money and playing time, there’s a good chance he’s as good as gone. With that said, if Blatche’s career arc matches Green’s at all — Green crashed back to earth after leaving the Nets — losing Blatche may be a blessing.

But if Andray Blatche continues his high level of play and returns to the Nets on a minimum contract (they can offer him up to 120% of the veteran’s minimum) — he enjoyed his time in Brooklyn and has said he’s open to returning — not only would he stick it to Washington the way he wants, but he’d also help the Nets with their next situation…
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