New Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has spoken about building a team through the draft, around the young players they have.
He has put his money where his mouth is — the Wizards have reached a contract extension with center Andray Blatche, according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post. Blatche had two seasons on his current deal, this is a three-year extension of that, through the summer of 2015.
Blatche has shown seemingly limitless potential for years, but only really put that in action the second half of last season, when he became a dynamic force for the Wizards. Washington is rolling the dice on that Blatche sticking around.
The Wizards got this at a fair price. Blatche will make $3.2 million this season, then $3.5 next season. This deal will pay Blatche $23 million over the following three years. That’s a pretty good price for a starting center in the NBA, if Blatche can continue to produce as he did last season. Seems a fair deal to both sides from here.
The Wizards also picked up the fourth year option on JaVale McGee, as expected.
Clearly, however, the Wizards are serious about the commitment to their core.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.