SATURDAY, JUNE 21ST, 11:25am: Blatche has officially opted out, his agency ASM Sports announced via Twitter (H/T Tim Bontemps of The New York Post).
THURSDAY, MAY 15TH, 12:58pm: Andray Blatche says he’ll turn down his player option for next season but adds that he’d nonetheless like to re-sign with the Nets, tweets Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Blatche’s option is worth slightly less than $1.438MM, but much like last summer, the Andy Miller client can probably fetch more on the market.
Blatche originally signed a one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Nets in 2012 when his stock had cratered following Washington’s decision to amnesty him that summer. He re-signed with Brooklyn last year to a deal at the full value of the Non-Bird exception, but this year, Brooklyn can give him much more via Early Bird rights. That will allow the Nets to give him a four-year deal with a starting salary of up to 104.5% of the estimated $5.565MM league average salary for 2013/14. I’m not sure he’d command quite so much, but Brooklyn won’t be nearly as limited with Blatche as it was last year.
The 27-year-old averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game this season as a backup big man for the Nets, compiling an 18.8 PER that’s quite high for a non-starter. There’s a decent chance a rival suitor will lob an inflated offer and the promise of more playing time his way, but the Nets have shown no fear of getting involved in a bidding war, in spite of this season’s massive tax bill. Blatche’s decision to opt out doesn’t give Brooklyn any cap room or significantly alter the team’s chances of dropping out of the tax. So, Nets GM Billy King will probably do what he can to bring him back, though that’s just my speculation.