The amnesty clause — not a trade — is the answer, and it’s the only answer when it comes to Andray Blatche.
Team President, Ernie Grunfeld, was feverishly trying to trade Blatche a few months ago at the trade deadline, but to no avail. Now that the season is over, Grunfeld is trying to find a taker for Blatche once again.
While I’m proud of Ernie Grunfeld for admitting his mistake of giving a contract extension to Andray Blatche to the rest of the league, he shouldn’t be looking to trade Blatche. He shouldn’t even consider it. First off, no one will take on Andray Blatche’s baggage and contract — so all of this is moot. However, in the crazy scenario where someone was willing to trade for Blatche, Grunfeld and the Wizards would have to take back a player or players with baggage and similarly bad contracts. Remember when there were rumors that the Bobcats were interested in trading Tyrus Thomas for Blatche? Why do that? All that would be doing is exchanging one pricey headache for another.
You shouldn’t trade Blatche and you can’t keep him — you just can’t. Meaning your only other alternative is to use the amnesty clause on him, and coincidentally, it’s the best decision to make.
Using the amnesty clause on Blatche would rid the Wizards of a major headache quickly and painlessly, and the move would also save owner Ted Leonsis money this season as well. Rashard Lewis, who is due over 23 million dollars this year, also needs to be moved. Some have advocated that the Wizards use the amnesty clause on Lewis, but Lewis has a buyout in his contract worth roughly 13.7 million dollars. If Grunfeld ignores the buyout and uses the amnesty clause on Rashard Lewis, he would be praying that someone would trade for Blatche, and if no one did, you’d have no option but to hang on to Seven-Day-Dray. In doing that it would cost Ted Leonsis approximately 30 million dollars coming out of his pocket for the 2012-2013 season, and not to mention the major distraction of having Andray Blatche on the roster. But if you amnesty Blatche, Leonsis would only be on the hook for about 21 million dollars this year — Rashard Lewis’ 13.7 million dollar buyout and Andray Blatche’s 7.1 million dollar salary this season.
When — not if — no team shows interest in trading for Andray Blatche, what will the Wizards do? As I’ve already covered, he should be amnestied but let’s pose a scenario. . . Ted Leonsis could tell Ernie Grunfeld that he won’t pay Blatche’s salary over the next three seasons for him not to play — which is exactly what the amnesty clause is in essence. It is paying someone to go away. It’s a hypothetical situation of course but it’s possible given Ted Leonsis’ penny-pinching nature (just look at the decision to retain Randy Wittman as head coach).
If Leonsis does force that, then the Wizards are doomed to failure. Because no team can win with Andray Blatche on the roster.