Andray Blatche opts out as expected, becomes unrestricted free agent

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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.

Lakers’ without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for opener due to DUI suspension

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LOS ANGELES — This isn’t new news, but a lot of NBA fans forgot it.

Last June the NBA suspended then Pistons now Lakers guard two games for “pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, in violation of the law of the State of Michigan.” Those were to be the first two games of next season — the Clippers game Thursday followed by the Suns Friday.

Lakers coach Luke Walton played it close to the vest, not revealing who would start at the two in KCP’s place. The most logical answer may be Jordan Clarkson, but Walton likes him creating shots with the second unit. Other options are limited, they could go small with backup point guard Tyler Ennis or big with Corey Brewer. (Josh Hart might have been the best call, but the rookie is out with a sore Achilles.

Whoever starts it will be a blow to the defense-starved Lakers to be without their best perimeter defender.

This summer, after landing Avery Bradley, the Pistons chose to renounce the rights to Caldwell-Pope, setting him free into what was a difficult market. Even for a good wing defender who hit 35 percent from three last season, when the market dried up so did the chance for a decent multi-year deal. The Lakers grabbed him for one-year at $18 million.

Caldwell-Pope’s agent is Rich Paul, who happens to be LeBron James‘ agent (and he’s a free agent next summer), but whatever the ulterior motives this was a good signing by the Lakers. If KCP works out this season for them they would be in the driver’s seat to re-sign him next summer (although the Lakers would not have his Bird rights).

Thunder reveal “Hoodie Melo” hoodies before Knicks game (PHOTO)

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Ah yes, Hoodie Melo. The new, improved version of Carmelo Anthony that is much better than the old one, mostly because he isn’t playing for the New York Knicks. Also, he is often seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

Of course, as is often the case in the NBA, when a cultural phenomenon comes along there’s often plan to make money off of it following close behind. That appears to be the case here, as the Thunder announced special Hoodie Melo sweatshirts that were selling before the game against the New York Knicks on Thursday.

The sweatshirts mimic the style of a popular Jordan brand logo, Carmelo’s shoe sponsor.

Via Twitter:

Carmelo stayed true to form throughout the warm-up session before the game, taking to the floor during lineups wearing — you guessed it — a hoodie.

Of course, there was lots of intrigue during the Thursday night game between Anthony and his former team, with the first points of his career coming in Oklahoma City looking like this:

Long live Hoodie Melo. May his brand forever beat forecasted sales numbers.

Warriors unveil sweet new uniforms (photo)

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The Warriors might not have Draymond Green against the Pelicans tomorrow, but Golden State will have these awesome jerseys:

Fresh. To. Death.

Devin Harris’ brother dies in car accident

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Just awful news for Devin Harris.

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News

The brother of Mavericks’ guard Devin Harris died Thursday afternoon after an early-morning crash on Central Expressway, officials said.

According to police, at about 1:40 a.m. Thursday morning Bruce Harris, 38, and a 36-year-old male passenger were in their disabled vehicle in the north bound lane of Central Expressway just south of Walnut Hill. A 23-year-old male driver of an Acura sedan and a 23-year-old male passenger were traveling north bound on Central Expressway and struck the back of the disabled vehicle. The impact caused the gas tank of the disabled vehicle to rupture and catch fire. All occupants were transported to Presbyterian Hospital.