Nets' Andray Blatche grateful for another chance

Andray Blatche smiles during the first media day Andray Blatche smiles during the first media day at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. (Oct. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Andray Blatche had his dream gig taken away and was left looking for a new employer, cut loose by the Wizards in July for a variety of reasons.

The Nets have given the 6-11 Blatche a chance, and he insists he's grateful for the opportunity to play pro basketball again.

"Definitely, definitely," Blatche said Tuesday after his first practice with the Nets. "Last season with the Wizards, the whole situation that happened there was really a wake-up call to show me that the job of my life, the job I love doing, can be taken from me in an instant. So to see what happened to me, to see that I have another chance, I don't want that to happen again."

Blatche was amnestied by the Wizards, who grew tired of his act and immaturity issues on and off the court since he entered the league in 2005. They gave him $23 million just to go away because in his seven seasons, the 26-year-old never lived up to expectations. He was benched for the first 22 games last season after reportedly ballooning to 280 pounds.

He has averaged 9.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in 409 games. Last season he played in only 26. "I just wasn't in good shape," he said, "and a lot of nonsense started and it never stopped."

Blatche, who got into an altercation with then-Wizards teammate JaVale McGee outside a nightclub in December 2010, spent much of the offseason in Texas with former NBA player and coach John Lucas. Blatche received counseling in an effort to mature, did weight training and worked with a nutritionist.

After Avery Johnson worked him out, the Nets decided to sign Blatche to a non-guaranteed one-year deal.

"I told him this when we met for the first time: It's a clean slate," Johnson said.

"He has pretty much a program that I have him on specifically, physically. There's some things mentally that we've talked about. Basketball on the court, off the court. He has his program. Keep me happy and then he'll be fine."

You also may be interested in: