So I was just sitting around minding my own business trying to watch the Wizards and Raptors game and I read on ESPN that the Wizards are actively trying to trade Andray Blatche which for any Wizard fan is great news.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reported “Sources close to the situation say that the Wizards had been trying to engage Charlotte on a Blatche-for-Tyrus Thomas swap.The Wizards would naturally prefer Boris Diaw and his expiring contract — with the bonus of knowing that Diaw’s passing eye could only give the wild Wiz a much-needed boost to their basketball IQ — but the ever-thrifty Bobcats aren’t about to take on the remaining three years (worth nearly $23 million) on Blatche’s contract if Thomas’ similarly hefty deal isn’t headed the other way.”
At first this seems like great news as I have wanted to trade Blatche ever since he finished signing his name to the 5 year 35 million dollar contract extension that Grunfeld gave him. To me Blatche is like many of the other Wizards players in that he just doesn’t get it. He still is much more in it for himself than the team (as you can see from this hilarious video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDzRvZcFn48) and just does not understand that as a professional basketball player he gets paid to help his team win, not for him to score as many points as possible. His on court play is reflective of his attitude as he is very talented, but rarely shares the ball. He also plays way too soft resorting to fade away jumpers when he has the talent and the size to get to the bucket on the regular. He is an average rebounder and a below average defender and just does not bring that toughness factor that you would want in your power forward, especially when your center is an athletic finesse player in Javale McGee. In terms of Blatche, I am definitely for getting rid of him and have been advocating it for a while due to his lack of toughness and the fact that he just does not have a winning attitude.
Saying all that…
I would still not do this trade. While Blatche is a problem on the court and is taking time away from some of our younger players while he’s healthy, he actually has improved himself as a teammate and became slightly tougher this year so while he is still a liability he is not quite as big of a liability in my opinion this year as he has been the rest of his career as I outlined above even if it is by the slimmest of margins. (Note: I am not advocating Andray Blatche as a good player, in fact he is probably my least favorite player in the NBA and I think getting rid of him and his contract is a must for the Wizards in the near future if they want to be successful, but I am saying he has slightly improved this year.)
In terms of production on the court, in my opinion Andray Blatche for Tyrus Thomas would be a pretty fair trade. They both play PF, and while Blatche is more of a skilled finesse player, Thomas is more of a tough power player. In my opinion while they are very different players, they offer very similar value on the court just in different ways. They are relatively the same size, Blatche is an inch taller and 40 pounds heavier but makes up for it with his lack of toughness, and they are the same age with Thomas being 5 days older. Basically I don’t think one player is really much better than the other, they just go about it in different ways.
The main reason why I am not interested in this trade is for the contract. While Blatche contract is bad (after this season he will have 3 years for 21 million left), Thomas’ is actually slightly worse having 3 million he’ll have three years and just over $26 million left on his deal. While that it is not a big difference it does make him that much more untradeable than Blatche. While I think it would be good to get Blatche out of here and get new fresh blood in here I don’t think that it would make a big enough difference on the court to take the extra 5 million. While Blatche and his personality seems like a much harder preson to trade than Thomas at first glance I actually think the opposite, because a lot of people (and I am sure a few GM’s) still think Blatche can harness all that talent and turn into a very good player in this league even though he has had 7 years to do that and still hasn’t. I think that we can get a better deal than this for Blatche especially closer to the deadline as teams get desperate, specifically getting players with fewer years on their contract so we can get ride of his contract sooner therefore allowing us to have more money to spend sooner and being able to use our amnesty on some one else (perhaps Rashard Lewis). Even if that means we have to make a Gilbert Arenas for Rashard Lewis type swap where we gain a year on the contract that we picked up compared to the one we traded. My bottom line to all of this is that one of the most important things for the Wizards to do is trade Andray Blatche and his contract, but in this case I think we should find a better deal that could help our contract situation more than a player’s who brings the same value on the court as Blatche but has an even bigger contract.