Andray Blatche fired the first shot. In the Brooklyn locker room just before Monday night’s marquis matchup between the Knicks and the Nets, Blatche said to reporters “Anybody seen how the Wizards are doing?”
Blatche went on to poke fun at his former team in a series of tweets, including one that stated how good it felt to be with a winning organization. But he didn’t stop there.
Blatche conducted a radio interview with Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan in D.C., where he continued to lash out at his former team.
“They’ve could’ve had my back,” Blatche said. “They could’ve explained exactly what was going on. They’ve could’ve had my back. They could’ve done anything. I don’t care what they could’ve done. It could’ve been small, than to say, you know what, ‘This is our escape route.’ ”
“We’re going to leave him out for himself. He’s going to have to fend for himself now. No, that’s not what you do when it’s your family. And supposedly say this is a brotherhood. That’s not what you do. I don’t care, whatever my brother, my uncle, my sister, whatever anybody does, I’m going to have their back 100 percent. And that’s what you do with family. That’s all I’m saying. If we’re family, then act like it.”
Blatche is finding success coming off the bench for the Nets, who are 9-4 after winning what was billed as the Battle of the Boroughs in New York on Monday night. He’s averaging 9.8 points and 5.4 rebounds and has found the ideal role for himself as a bench player averaging around 22 minutes per game.
He’s also being paid $7 million per year by the Wizards, who used their amnesty provision earlier this year to release him. In total, the Wizards will have to pay Blatche $23 million. His contract with the Nets earns him a little over $1.14 million. That being said, Blatche might have been better off not to reopen old Washington wounds.
His twitter comments, along with his radio interview, evoked a firestorm of reaction from local fans who still blame Blatche for the Wizards woes the past few seasons. They cite his lack of conditioning, poor work ethic and immaturity as reason why he was booed nearly every time he stepped on the court at Verizon Center last year.
Blatche did admit to some responsibility, but still sounded to a lot of fans like more excuse making.
“I was out of shape. I 100 percent admit that. And that’s 100 percent on me,” Blatche said.
“But my thing is, I’m not necessarily blaming it all on injuries because it’s other things I could’ve possibly done. I could’ve did a lot more workouts. Do more stuff in the pool to take stress off my legs. I could’ve done a lot more of that. I’m talking more of the booing and the ignorance of certain fans of certain situations with the media that the organization didn’t have my back with. That’s what I’m talking about.”
“It’s easy to be in somebody’s corner when things is good. That’s the easiest thing in the world, that’s for anybody. I’m talking about when things are bad, when things are going wrong. That’s when you can tell if somebody is on your side or not when things are going bad. That contract was great because things were going good. I needed help. I asked them, ‘Why is nobody having my back? Everybody said, ‘You have to play through it and things will turn around.’ ”
Asked after Tuesday’s practice session about Blatche’s comments, Wizards coach Randy Wittman said he “didn’t want to get into that.”
“We did everything we could to help him, as we will with every player that ever comes here,” Wittman said.
Now that Blatche has a new home and a new team in Brooklyn he sounds as though he’s finally with an organization that has put him in the right role.
“To be honest with you, me being amnestied from that team, that was one of the biggest things to help me,” Blatche said. “Now I’m in a whole different organization. A different part of my life, that I’m going to be able to succeed in.”
Clearly though, he clearly still harbors some bitterness toward Washington.
“It’s over for me in D.C., I know that,” Blatche said. “I’m quite sure, they can ask every last one of my teammates here and I guarantee you what they say about me is completely different than what y’all think of me in D.C. For them to say, ‘Oh, he’s a bad teammate, he’s a cancer in the locker room, he’s this and that.”
“All that was a bunch of lies. A bunch of lies. That’s what really made me mad. That showed me, they tried to end me.”