One positive from last season for the Washington Wizards is the fact that they have made the first step in the pursuit of better days.
By trading away Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood around the February deadline, the franchise closed the book on a subpar chapter of its history. This turn of events led to another bright spot for their fan to smile about. The Jamison trade allowed always-promising Andray Blatche to show some life in his fifth season. Handed a feature role as the starting power forward, in his last 32 games Blatche averaged 22.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. The Wizards are hoping for that kind of production to continue to ensure a positive development process for the future. I beg to differ. If Blatche is able to keep up the numbers at the start of next season, the Wizards should ship him out of town as soon as possible while his value remains high.
With the current trend of superstar players asking out of their current situations, their respective teams are looking for prospects in return. Blatche just turned 24 last month, so he definitely falls into that category. He still has a lot of years ahead of him. With his size, mobility and skills, he can be an All-Star. Or at least that’s the selling point. If the Nuggets decided to ship Carmelo Anthony close to home, Blatche could be a player of interest they’d want in return.
So why wouldn’t the Wizards just keep him? Blatche has worn out his welcome with the franchise. His off-court issues have become all too common during his time in Washington. On more than one occasion, these problems have spilled over into his on-court performance. How can we forget the incident last season when he refused coach Flip Saunders‘ order to check into a game? It’s clear a change of scenery is need for the big man.
As long as he performs well, Andray’s value should be high enough to bring in some good players to run with D.C. building blocks John Wall and JaVale McGee. If they decide to sell on Blatche, even if they don’t get a superstar, the Wizards can definitely bring in pieces to make their team better. With Gilbert Arenas and Josh Howard on their roster, one more productive veteran should be all they need to sneak into the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
This league is all about striking while the iron is hot. With Andray’s past inconsistencies, the Wizards don’t know how long he will stay hot. It is all about timing for this to work. Making the right deal at the right time can make or break the season in Washington.