Blatche: Returning is 'No. 1 priority'

Andray Blatche

Andray Blatche

#0 C
Brooklyn Nets

2014 STATS

  • GM73
  • PPG11.2

  • RPG5.3

  • APG1.5

  • FG%.476

  • FT%.742

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets backup big man Andray Blatche, who has a player option for next season at $1.4 million, told reporters that he plans to opt out and become a free agent.

“I’m going to see what’s out there for me,” Blatche said Thursday. “I would love to stay here. They gave me my first opportunity. So if things work out, hopefully I’ll be back here. If not, I just want to thank the fans and the whole organization for giving me that second chance.”

The Nets have Blatche’s Early Bird Rights, meaning they could offer him at most a four-year contract worth about $25 million. Blatche has $8.4 million in amnesty payments coming for the Washington Wizards next season.

Blatche said he does want to come back, calling it his “No. 1 priority.”

“Yeah, definitely. I feel like we have a strong team here,” he said. “We have a good core. Everybody gets along, Everybody holds one another accountable. I can still learn from some of the players here. But at the same time it’s a business. So if I’m not here I appreciate everything this organization has done for me.”

Blatche plans to play in the World Championships for the Philippines this summer. There are still some hurdles that need to be cleared before it becomes official.

“Yeah, right now I had to get a new passport because I lost my old one,” he said. “So I have to see a judge and get a new passport and once I send it over to them it should be done.”

The Nets have five other pending free agents aside from Blatche: Paul Pierce (unrestricted, Bird Rights), Shaun Livingston (unrestricted, no Bird Rights) Jason Collins (unrestricted), Andrei Kirilenko (player option) and Alan Anderson (player option).

The Nets can only offer Livingston at most three years, $10 million -- otherwise known as their entire taxpayer mini mid-level exception.

“Yeah I would like to be [back],” Livingston said. “You know they gave me an opportunity. I think it was a great look, chemistry and fit-wise. You know playing for Jason [Kidd has] obviously been a huge benefit for me in learning the game. Being on this platform, this stage, I’m very grateful. I just tried to take advantage of it this year.”

Other teams can obviously offer more money, but Livingston says he cares a lot about winning, which could also influence his decision.

“That definitely plays a role for me,” he said. “My situation is backwards for me. Usually guys get a chance to be really a free agent for the first time early [in career]. For me I kind of missed out on that time. But I'm 28, 29, you know in the prime. I'd like to win. That's my goal.”

Kirilenko was unsure what the future holds for him. Asked if he still has the passion to keep playing, Kirilenko said, “Definitely, definitely. I’m 33 years old. I feel that it’s coming down body-wise, but I still feel I’m ready to play. I think I have only a couple years left to play.”