Tag: Andray Blatche

Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets

Andray Blatche signs deal to play in China next season


Andray Blatche was a key rotation player for a Nets team that made it to the second round of the playoffs last season, but Brooklyn made a decision fairly early on that it wasn’t interested in re-signing him in free agency.

Way back in December, Blatche missed four games due to what the team referred to as personal reasons at the time, but later it was discovered that he was suspended due to “a lack of conditioning and preparedness.”

Blatche remained unsigned as he played for the Philippines national team this summer at the FIBA World Cup, and with most teams having already spent their salary cap dollars elsewhere, he decided to give China a shot next season instead.

From ASM Sports:

Official: @drayblatche has signed a 1 year deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers.

The Flying Tigers made the CBA finals last year and the club feels Andray is the final piece to a championship contender.

Andray is extremely excited to be joining a 1st-class club & looks forward to building relationships throughout the Pacific Rim.

Blatche must’ve enjoyed being one of the best players on the floor in international play, and he’ll get in the neighborhood of $2.5 million for his troubles, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The season in China ends in March, and at that point Blatche would be available to sign with a team for a stretch run into the playoffs. If all goes well overseas, expect Blatche to be back in the NBA, perhaps with a contender, before the postseason begins.

Last year in Brooklyn, Blatche averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per contest over 73 regular season appearances.

Five lessons learned from the FIBA World Cup

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup - Day Nine

There wasn’t much drama — Team USA went 9-0 in the World Cup, won games by an average of 32 points, and when they turned on the energy pretty much every game felt like the gold medal game rout of Serbia.

What did we learn from all this? Well, aside the USA doesn’t have to send a team to the FIBA Americas tournament next year to qualify for the Rio Olympics now? Here are five things I’m taking away from basketball in August and September.

1) The USA’s talent pool remains far deeper, bigger than the rest of the globe. Sure, basketball is a growing international game, with tons of fans in China and the Philippines. In some parts of the world its popularity is second only to soccer/futball. But we still have the best players by far. All the talk before this tournament was about who wasn’t there — and that was before Paul George got injured and Kevin Durant pulled out. Didn’t matter. Not only did we always have the best couple players on the court at every moment, we were rolling NBA All-star caliber players off the bench. No country in the world is close to matching that yet. (Well, maybe Spain, but they blew the chance to test that theory.)

2) Anthony Davis is ready to make the next leap. No doubt Kenneth Faried was the breakout star of the World Cup for the USA (and he earned himself a lot of extra bank). Kyrie Irving was the World Cup MVP and looked like a guy ready to step on the stage next to LeBron James in a couple of weeks. But it was Anthony Davis though the tournament that looked like a guy who is going to make a leap this year — and I mean leap to top five NBA player. At least, maybe third. Mike Krzyzewski put a lot on him and Davis lived up to it — he averaged 12.3 points a game on 54.9 percent shooting, plus he pulled down 6.6 rebounds a game and averaged 2.1 blocks on top of it all. Early in the tournament he was destroying teams and he forced teams to adjust their defense to account for him, which opened up scoring opportunities for James Harden, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest on the wings. When the season starts, keep an eye on Davis and the Pelicans.

3) Bulls fans are going to like having Pau Gasol around. The elder Gasol had looked like a guy dropping off the past couple years in Los Angeles, but that was more about Mike D’Antoni’s coaching than anything. Gasol didn’t fit in D’Antoni’s role (as a stretch four) and that led to a lack of energy. Back in his native Spain Gasol was showing off his wide arsenal of shots to score 20 points a game on 63.5 percent shooting. More importantly, he was showing passion for the game again, something D’Antoni sucked out of him. Gasol found his love of the game again and watch out for him in Chicago.

4) Speaking of Bulls fans, Derrick Rose is pretty healthy but still has a ways to go. On the bright side, Derrick Rose was moving well by the end of the World Cup. He played in five games in six days, showing he is healthy. He played some good defense, he showed some signs of a more mature game (like the six assists in the gold medal game against Serbia). But his shot was just off — he hit just 25.4 percent of his attempts all tournament. He struggled to finish inside, his jumper was erratic (he was 1-of-19 from three). Bulls fans need to hope that is just rust. For Bulls fans the good news is Rose shook off some of that rust in Spain rather than in the early games of the season.

5) There were a lot of players from around the globe who were just fun to watch. We focused on Team USA a lot but there other guys from other countries who had big tournaments. Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng looked like a guy ready for more minutes while playing for Senegal. The Nets have themselves a shooter in incoming rookie Bojan Bogdanovic of Croatia, who averaged 21.2 points a game. Don’t confuse him with Bogdan Bogdanovic of Serbia, who looked like he could develop into a player the Phoenix Suns could use in a couple of years if/when he comes over. Jose Barea led the tournament averaging 22 points a game. Andray Blatche averaged 21.2 for the Philippines while still making Blatche-like plays. Goran Dragic was great as expected but it was his unsigned brother Zoran who was catching people’s eyes. Even “Pooh” Jeter (Ukraine) was a blast to watch.

Robin Lopez wants to replace Andray Blatche as Philippines’ naturalized player

Andray Blatche, Robin Lopez

Andray Blatche lived up to the Philippines’ expectations in his first tournament as a naturalized citizen.

Though the Philippines went just 1-4 in the World Cup, the team was competitive in every game – thanks to Blatche. He starred, averaging 21.1 points (second in the World Cup) and 13.8 rebounds (first) per game.

After a quirky start, this relationship is going well.

But if the Philippines are ever looking for another ringer – national teams are allowed one naturalized citizen – Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez would be eager to join.

Lopez, via Karlo Sacamos of Spin.ph

“If the whole Andray Blatche thing doesn’t work out, I’m here for Gilas,” Lopez said on Thursday after conducting a training camp organized by Gatorade and NBA Philippines at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

“I don’t wish any harm to come to Dray because obviously he’s played his heart out for that team and he’s a great fit,” the Portaland Trail Blazer said

“I’d love to (play for the country). I realized the passion these people have for basketball,” said Lopez, whose brother Brook played with Blatche at Brooklyn in the last NBA season.

Blatche, in the estimate of Rafe Bartholomew of Grantland, received more than $1 million from the Philippines for this venture. Maybe the national team broke the bank to get any NBA player, but Lopez is better than Blatche. He could try to draw even more money.

So, yes, I’m sure Lopez respect Filipino basketball culture. But there would also be a financial benefit if he ever gained citizenship and joined the national team.

Heat meet with free agent big man Ryan Hollins

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Clippers

Ryan Hollins has played for six teams in his eight NBA seasons for two primary reasons.

Players who are seven feet tall and have any sort of ability will continue to get chances at the professional level, because as the saying goes, you can’t teach size. But once teams have had Hollins in house to see up close what he has to offer, he doesn’t tend to last very long, which has led to his bouncing around the league.

The Miami Heat, still desperate for some backup big man help, have become the latest team to give Hollins a serious look.

From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

Still in search of veteran depth at center, the Heat on Friday summoned 7-0 center Ryan Hollins to Miami to meet with Erik Spoelstra and his staff, according to a person briefed by the team. No offer was made Friday or Saturday but Hollins remains under consideration. …

The Heat auditioned veteran center Nazr Mohammed a week ago and also has inquired about free agent center Andray Blatche. The Heat is very intrigued by free agent center Emeka Okafor, but ESPN has reported he might not play until midseason because of a bulging disc in his neck.

Okafor is the best of the bunch when healthy, but it’s unclear when he’ll be available. Blatche would be a fine addition too, despite the knucklehead factor, but it would be tough to see him signing up for a minimum deal with Miami given his skill set.

Hollins played for the Clippers the last two seasons, and averaged just 7.9 minutes per contest in 61 regular season appearances most recently. He’ll be most remembered in Los Angeles, however, for unfortunate plays like these.

Heat ask about Andray Blatche, work out Nazr Mohammed

Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat

The Heat, with only minimum contracts available, want to add a shooting guard and a big.

They got their shooting guard in Shannon Brown.

The big? A few candidates are emerging.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

The Heat, looking to add another veteran backup center, summoned 6-11 Nazr Mohammed, [36], for a workout and meeting with team executives on Thursday.

Among free agent centers, the Heat is most intrigued by Emeka Okafor.

The Heat also has inquired about 6-11 free agent center Andray Blatche, who has a home here.

Mohammed played 80 games for the Bulls last season, setting a record for fewest minutes per game (7.0) by someone who appeared in so many games. At 36, the role he can handle is likely only shrinking.

Okafor is reportedly out until midseason, limiting his value to the Heat. They’re going to be jockeying for playoff positioning, so early games matter. (Life without LeBron is harder).

Blatche is playing – well and amusingly – in the World Cup for the Philippines right now. This is essentially an audition for him. Perhaps Miami has moved on from players of his profile, but Blatche certainly has the most upside of the group. That’s always difficult to turn down.