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Saturday, March 16, 2013
Blatche hopes to re-sign with Nets

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Andray Blatche will be a free agent at season's end, but the 26-year-old backup center wants to remain a Brooklyn Net.

"Most definitely. I love it here," Blatche told ESPN NewYork.com on Saturday. "We've got a great team here, a great staff. The fans are crazy. I mean, everything about this organization is great, so hopefully I can come back.

"I feel like this is my new home, now, really. I feel comfortable with everything that's going on."

Andray Blatche
Andray Blatche is averaging 10.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in less than 20 minutes per game.
Bringing Blatche back might be difficult for the Nets, however, given that they're over the salary cap and don't have his Bird Rights.

The most Brooklyn could offer Blatche is the "mini" (taxpayer) midlevel exception, worth approximately $9 million over three years. They could also offer him a one-year deal for 120 percent of the veteran's minimum and hope that he takes it so they could use their mini mid-level to bring in another player. (Fan site Netsdaily does a phenomenal job of breaking down the details here).

The good news for the Nets, though, is that the Washington Wizards, who amnestied Blatche, still owe him $16.3 million over the next two seasons, which means he doesn't necessarily have to break the bank.

"When I become a free agent, I'm going to call (GM) Billy King and say, 'Billy, listen man, I need 100 million to keep me here,'" Blatche joked. "But seriously, I'm going to call my agent and see what's best for me and my family.

"Money's not the (biggest thing). It's more I just want to go somewhere where I can play. I want to play as many minutes as possible."

Blatche, who inked a one-year, non-guaranteed contract in the offseason, is having the most efficient season of his career. In 18.9 minutes per game, he's averaging 10.1 points and 5.2 rebounds and is shooting 50.1 percent from the field. Blatche also ranks 14th in Player Efficiency Rating (PER).

Blatche believes he can still be an NBA starter.

"Most definitely. I was a starter not too long ago," he said. "I just had a bad year, bad circumstances and I let it slip away, but I still feel in my heart that, yeah, I can still be a starter in this league."

Blatche doesn't lack confidence, that's for sure.

"I'm one of the top bigs in this league. I really believe that," he said.

Blatche's go-to offensive move is one that has driven many of his coaches crazy.

"A straight 'snatchback,' that's it," Blatche said. "You get the ball, go hard right, and then snatch it back with the behind-the-back. Then you take a fadeaway. It works every time."

"P.J. (Carlesimo) didn't like it for a little bit, but who didn't like it the most? I want to say somebody couldn't stand it. Randy Wittman. He couldn't stand it. But it's part of my game, and I gotta do what I gotta do."

Why is the 6-11 Blatche so good at creating off the dribble?

"I used to play guard and forward a lot like in high school, middle school growing up," he said. "I wasn't always this tall. It stuck with me from there."