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Blatche on KG: What rivalry?

NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets reserve Andray Blatche said his rivalry with soon-to-be teammate Kevin Garnett is over.

"I believe it was last year in Brooklyn -- I was playing against him -- at the free throw line, he said, 'Man, keep your head up and keep fighting.' And when he said that, it caught me off guard because of the battles between me and him, so I was like, 'OK, I guess we're cool now,'" Blatche said in a Thursday conference call with reporters after it was announced that he had officially re-signed with the Nets.

"He said, 'Keep your head up, keep fighting.' And ever since then ... the whole rivalry thing has been over with."

The rivalry between the two players got heated on March 8, 2010, when Blatche was playing for the Washington Wizards. Wizards coach Flip Saunders was upset at Blatche because he engaged in some fourth-quarter trash talk with Garnett, which helped the Boston Celtics rally and claim an 86-83 victory.

"We beat ourselves by getting them energized, which got their crowd energized," Saunders said then. "Dray is woofing the whole time at Kevin Garnett. You can't do those kinds of things. When you're coming up and establishing yourself, you don't take a guy that's been Defensive Player of the Year and is probably the best power forward and get that guy juiced up to play against you. You got no chance."

According to The Washington Post, the situation "nearly got heated when Garnett approached Blatche and tried to wrestle the ball away from him. Blatche appeared to throw an elbow as Garnett continued to taunt him. Blatche later flung Garnett into a cameraman and sent him to the foul line for two free throws. Garnett smiled as he was helped off the ground. Reserve forward James Singleton said Garnett used his 'veteran senses' to needle Blatche and get under his skin."

According to the Post, Blatche "appeared to hold back tears" as he explained the incident.

"I see myself as defending myself as a player. I'm a man, just like they a man. If a man is talking to me this close to my face," Blatche said, according to the Post, "I'm going to say something back. He has to respect me just like I respect him. I just, 'Get up out of my face.' He was this close in my face -- I can feel his lips touching my cheek -- I wasn't bragging, saying, 'Ah, we winning.' It was, 'Back up.'"

During the Thursday conference call, Blatche called KG a "great, great, great, great leader to follow behind."

When Blatche was meeting with first-year coach Jason Kidd last Monday, Kidd told Blatche he was going to get his minutes.

"Jason said not to get discouraged with KG being here," Blatche said.

The KG trade is expected to be made official on Friday.

Blatche explained his decision to stay with the Nets.

"This team could win the championship and I wanted to be a part of that. This organization gave me a chance when no one else did. It was about loyalty. Hopefully, I'll be here for a while."

Can the Nets win a championship in Year 1 of the new roster?

"Why not? We're a complete different team now," Blatche said.

As ESPNNewYork.com reported, Blatche got higher offers, but he said, "It never crossed my mind about being anywhere else.

"I still feel like I haven't reached my full potential," he added.