Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets

Andray Blatche opts out as expected, becomes unrestricted free agent


Andray Blatche was a serviceable reserve for the Nets this past season, and though his offensive possessions were adventurous at times, his skill set overall was beneficial to the Brooklyn bench.

It was expected that Blatche would seek a higher-dollar deal this summer, after signing on for a minimum contract following his being amnestied by the Wizards two seasons ago.

Blatche’s agent made his opt-out official on friday.

From Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York:

Blatche had told reporters on breakup day that he intended to opt out, so the move comes as no surprise.

The 27-year-old held a player option with Brooklyn for 2014-15 for just $1.4 million.

Blatche is now free to sign with any team.

The Nets have Blatche’s early Bird rights, meaning they’d be able to offer him a new deal for as much as four years, $25 million.

It’s more than likely that Blatche will be able to get a better deal elsewhere than what the Nets would be willing to offer, considering there’s a logjam of sorts in the frontcourt with Brook Lopez, Mirza Teletovic and Mason Plumlee all locked in for next year — and that’s before we even add Kevin Garnett to the mix in the event he chooses to return for a 20th NBA season.

Blatche will easily command a multi-year deal on the open market for the mid-level exception or more. He averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game for the Nets last season.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.