The biggest winner from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ last-ditch effort to keep LeBron James in town turned out to be Andray Blatche.
When the Cavs acquired Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards around last February’s trade deadline — a move expected to put the Cavs over the top as a championship caliber squad — it opened the door for Blatche to take the starting power forward job in D.C. and run with it. In his 32 games after the All-Star break, Blatche averaged 22.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals. The preps-to-pros ’05 draft pick suffered a broken bone in his foot recently, but apparently that hasn’t stopped the Wizards from locking up the emerging talent to a long-term deal.
According to a source cited by the Washington Post, Blatche has agreed to a 5-year contract extension worth more than $30 million with the Wizards. Blatche could have become an unrestricted free agent in 2012.
Along with John Wall and JaVale McGee, Blatche is considered a big part of Washington’s youth movement.