Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Blatche: I wanted to show Brooklyn the love
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- In the end, Andray Blatche felt a sense of loyalty to the Brooklyn Nets.
That’s why the 26-year-old backup center decided to stay.
“Some teams offered me more money, but I’m here in Brooklyn now, and I feel good where I’m at,” Blatche, who agreed to re-sign with the Nets on July 1, the first day of free agency, told ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday night.
“[The Nets] took me in last year, gave me the opportunity to come back, and I wanted to show the love back. I was on my way out of the league, and they had to take a chance on me, and they did. They showed a lot of confidence in me, they gave me a chance to come back and I made the choice [to stay].”
Before he agreed to a two-year contract with the Nets -- which includes a player option for the second year -- worth approximately $2.9 million, sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that Blatche was drawing interest from the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.
But Blatche will receive $16 million over the next two seasons from the Washington Wizards, who amnestied him before the Nets gave him a second chance, so financially, he’s already set.
“I’m not searching for money, I’m straight,” Blatche said. “I’m here in Brooklyn, so I came back to Brooklyn.”
Blatche met with Nets first-year coach Jason Kidd on Monday before agreeing to terms on a new deal.
“[Jason] just told me the plans of how the season was going to go with my playing time and how things were gonna go,” Blatche said. “I believe in his system and that’s why I wanted to come.”
Nets general manager Billy King was active in the offseason, pulling off a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics to acquire future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, along with veteran bench scorer Jason Terry. Aside from re-signing Blatche, King also signed European sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic, brought in backup point guard Shaun Livingston and drafted Duke product Mason Plumlee in the first round.
The Nets won 49 games last season, but were ousted in the first round of the playoffs.
Blatche believes bigger and better things are in store in 2013-14.
“We’re trying to get a ring,” Blatche said. “That’s our main goal, and we’re going to work hard and fight hard in practices and games so we can get to that ring. That’s pretty much it.”
On Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported that Blatche will not face any charges in a sexual assault investigation following a January incident in Philadelphia. A Philadelphia police spokesperson told the newspaper that Blatche was cleared following a “thorough investigation.”
Blatche’s contract cannot become official until the NBA’s moratorium is lifted at midnight.
Blatche, who was playing in a Nike Pro City basketball game at Baruch College in Manhattan, scored 36 points in his team’s victory.
“It’s like playing back at home growing up. I grew up playing in stuff like this, so it’s all love and all fun,” Blatche said.
Blatche, who has been working out at the Nets’ practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., throughout the offseason, said he’s not in game shape just yet, but there are several months to get there.
Blatche enjoyed a breakout season for the Nets in 2012-13, averaging 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting a career-high 51.2 percent from the field and playing in all 82 games.