The contract of Andray Blatche has been extended through the 2014-15 season, as first reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post and then made official by the team. Wizards fans should be relieved, but also a tad curious.
Late last March, barely a month removed from the trade deadline and the jettisoning of Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood and Abe Lincoln neck tat, Andray Blatche had the below choice quotes from an interview with FanHouse:
“I look at the situation as being underpaid,” Blatche, 23, said in an interview with FanHouse. “I understand why I got the contract that I got and I make the best of it.”
“Definitely next year, if I’m going out and I’m doing the same thing and I become an All-Star player, it’s definitely going to bother me a lot because I’m definitely going to feel underpaid and like I’m not being appreciated,” Blatche said. “But there’s nothing I can do about that.”
This was concerning for several reasons.
- Blatche’s escalation from floundering potential with several gaffes already under his belt, and with Antawn Jamison previous getting minutes at his position ahead of him, to “underpaid” was rather quick. He had done very little to prove himself up until those bold words.
- About a week after his “underpaid” comments, Blatche ignited the infamous incident where he sulked, showed bad body language, and did not communicate with his coach in order to get back into the game, and thus sat at the end of the bench from the 4:28 mark in the first quarter, playing 7:31 total minutes. Oh yea, the team also handed out fliers touting Blatche for ‘Most Improved Player’ before that game. In addition to the link above, Truth About It.net, of course, provided full coverage of the incident:
- Blatche is good. He has a unique set of skills, but is also more than adequate in several areas, from shot blocking to dribbling. Andray also means well. He’s a good kid, just misdirected. He’s matured by leaps and bounds since he came into the league at age 19, but he still has a long way to go. From looking for a wifey in all the wrong places (Logan Circle and D.C.-area clubs, nightlife activity supposedly leading to the incident where Blatche was shot in 2005 before his rookie season), to the aforementioned incident of communication skills with Flip Saunders, to thinking a triple-double was of the utmost importance at the end of last season, Dray has proven that he’s a work in progress.
- But Blatche is a promising work in progress, and one can only hope that time and these incidents have opened his eyes even more. I think, or maybe I just get a faint feeling that they have. But it doesn’t matter how optimistic the hope of myself or anyone else is, from Leonsis to Grunfeld, Blatche still has to prove himself. And through all this, being able to keep him beyond 2011-12 was a big concern. All signs of the team needing to keep Blatche, via his progression as a player last season, were there … and it’s better to do it now rather than later (at least that’s the hope).
Blatche has been signed to a reasonable extension, this is key. His ego has also been subtly massaged in the process through the restructuring of his current deal that was set to end after 2011-12 and pay him $6,780,992 million total. His bank account over the next two seasons will be $5,565,243 million larger ($12,346,235 total for 2010-11 and 2011-12), and he will have the security of getting paid $23,384,762 million over the next three seasons after that, giving him $35,730,997 total over the next five seasons (salary info courtesy of Sham Sports).
It must be noted that Blatche previously signed a 5-year contract extension after the summer of his arrest in August 2007 for soliciting an prostitute that was really an undercover cop, something which was alluded to in the FanHouse interview as a reason why Blatche’s last contract was so “affordable,” and why he has learned from his mistakes. The money quote being Blatche’s response to getting caught:
“It was taken more seriously than it should have been. We just got caught talking to the wrong people. That’s what it was all about. We shouldn’t have talked to them anyway. That’s what happens.”
Um … ya think?
Some have questioned the decision of Blatche to sign for such money now (without the help of an agent; very Gilbert Arenas of him, as Michael Lee reports), as opposed to taking a chance in an open market, even considering a new, unknown CBA. But Andray needs security now to go along with his expected leadership. He, like many of us, must feel properly compensated for his efforts. And now he will be, assuming he keeps up the effort.
Everybody wins. The Wizards have invested a lot in Blatche already, and any business person will tell you that it’s usually cheaper to keep your own cultivated personnel instead of chasing after others and the increased cost that’s associated with transition in the free-agent market.
Again, it is an investment, a chance. The risk is still there. The dead horse just awoke from his state of rigor mortis due to repeated beating and said that Blatche still needs to prove himself, else he’ll quickly become overpaid.