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Saunders takes Blatche to task

Mired in a 12-game slide and facing the distraction of supended guard Gilbert Arenas's sentencing on Friday, the Washington Wizards have another potential mess on their hands with the benching of Andray Blatche in Tuesday's 95-86 loss to Charlotte.

Wizards Coach Flip Saunders removed Blatche from the game after he played 7 minutes 31 seconds in the first quarter. Saunders said initially he wanted to talk to the power forward about not getting back on defense. Blatche, however, wanted no part of the discussion and essentially boycotted the rest of the game.

That left the Wizards short-handed in a game they may have won had Blatche been reinserted. With Blatche watching from the bench, Washington ended up getting outrebounded 61-42, including a 23-11 deficit offensively. Among players still with the team and eligible to participate, Blatche leads the Wizards in scoring at 12.7 points per game.

"Yeah I guess, just because of everything," Saunders said when asked if this incident was the low point in a season filled with forgettable moments. "This team, we've lost a lot of close games, you know, and you've got a chance, and when you have coaches go up and ask a player that's supposedly your quote-unquote key player to play, and he just says he doesn't want to play.

"I don't care. You can be upset with me, but don't leave your teammates hanging out to dry like that. You don't do that. You don't do that. That's one of the greatest things about this sport. You look to the right, and you look to the left. It's being in the trenches with those players. And what happens is as players, you know what you have. Right now, those teammates, he's lost their credibility. What's going to happen when things go bad? You can't do those things."

Here's more of what Saunders had to say about Blatche in his postgame session with the media:

This latest episode with Blatche, who was suspended for one game earlier this season for what the Wizards called conduct detrimental to the team, came on the same night Washington's media relations staff passed around a flyer to reporters touting him for the NBA's most improved player award.

Before Tuesday, Blatche had been amassing statistics to warrant that consideration. In 18 games since the all-star break, Blatche was averaging 23.2 points and 9.4 rebounds. He also had four games with at least 30 points in that stretch, during which he has shot 51 percent.

Last season Blatche averaged 10 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and shot 47.1 percent.

"You what I'm disappointed in?" Saunders said. "I'm disappointed in that since we started him, 60 percent of the offense is run through him. Coaches aren't wrong, no matter what. When a coach wants to teach you something, and you think you're above that because you've played 16 good games?

"I mean I [coached] Kevin Garnett [in Minnesota]. That guy, you'd say one thing, and he's up there, 'What do you want coach?' He wanted to get better every time. He never copped that type of attitude. That's ridiculous. It really is. I am extremely disappointed. I am the most disappointed I've ever been in 15 years with a player. Most disappointed."

By Gene Wang  |  March 24, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The many tales of Arenas
Next: Blatche doubtful for tonight


Blatche is a turd, get rid of him and get someone that wants to play

Posted by: tberg1 | March 24, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we should trade him for Otis Thorpe.

Ppl need to chill. He made a mistake. He's young. It's not like he brought guns into the locker room. Suspend him for a game or two and move on.

If I had to rate AB's year against Flip's, AB gets a higher grade even with this insubordination. Flip's refusal to play his best players is maddening. I read an article about Flip being angry with MM for refusing to shoot. How about suspending HIM? On a team that needs points, this 10 million dollar vet refuses to listen to the coach. Is this any worse than what AB did?
Not to me.

Posted by: original_mark | March 24, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Flip knows best how Blatche should play his game on the court. So Blatche should just do what Flip says and thats it.

Blatche shouldn't be thinking he knows what he is doing out on the court. Only Flip knows that.

Just like in overtime tonight when he took Javale out of the game and inserted Fabulous. He probably knew that the McGee was tired and that Charlotte would start attacking the basket and the veteran, Fabulous was best to have on the floor.

Flip is right and we should just get rid of Blatche and replace him and McGee and Young and Shaun. The veteran Foye needs to play in crunchtime and not Livingston. Miller needs to run fastbreaks off of turnovers and not the pointguard sitting on the bench.

Miller has a right to take up most of the playing time at the 2 and 3. He is versatile and a veteran. Flip knows.

Flip is the man, the coach that will bring respectability back to the Washington Wizards.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

He quit on his team, Flip didn't. That is far worse.

Posted by: tberg1 | March 24, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

very very very dissapointing! Things can and will sometimes get tough but you can't react like that. Blatche just bailed out on his teammates.

Who would have thought this season would get THIS bad ?

With all that has been happenning (including landing some knuclehead players) we have got to get some luck thrown our way.

A top 3 pick would be a good faith offering.

Posted by: millineumman | March 24, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Is AB's ankle still a problem? I could see a guy getting p-ssed at a coach if he's getting reamed for not playing well enough even though he's playing hurt.

Aside from that though . . .

Posted by: JPRS | March 24, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

It was only a matter of time once the team was remade with young energetic players playing exciting ball that the coaching philosophies of Flip kicked in.

You see I knew that Andre Blatche would not be permitted to play the way he was playing.

I knew that he had to change to a more inside game and not the free uncontrolled perimeter game that he also showed on the floor.

All this team has is energy, speed, youthfulness and the unexpected. Once Flip has controlled all of that into a more conventional NBA sytle of do's and dont's, he has taken away what makes them exciting and any chance of winning.

Did anyone take a good look at Javale McGee's face when he sat on the bench in overtime last night in overtime?

When Fabulous was finally benched in overtime and when he came to the bench, the guy he sat next to did not even look at him, he just shook his head back and forth whilst he was looking away.

Anyone that thinks this is just insubordination on Blatche's part better think again. Think Again.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

just play're ruining my fantasy BB playoff run!

Posted by: glenn_park | March 24, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

This is a franchise in complete, system-wide meltdown, from ownership (as in lack thereof) down to the ball boys. If a player did this to a Jerry Sloan or Gregg Popovich, that would be the end of their career on that team. I'd speculate that every one of these developments (Blatche, GA's sentencing) weakens whatever remaining leverage the Pollins have in their negotiations with Leonsis.

Posted by: jweber1 | March 24, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

He quit on his team, Flip didn't. That is far worse.

Posted by: tberg1 | March 24, 2010 7:28 AM

Oh really. Do you really believe that Andre Blatche quit on the team or is he just sick of Flip Saunders.

I tell you for real that this would be two different things.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

why dont you guys wait until you hear both sides of the story? It could be that Blatche has a bad ankle but gets benched for not getting back quick enough when you know he's hurt, after he's been carrying the team? He might just be sick of Flip

Posted by: dlts20 | March 24, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

This coaching staff has had way to much trouble with different players this season. I think Saunders is jealous because they make more money than he does. This organization needs new leadership on and off the court.

Posted by: dandyhuffman | March 24, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Can anybody point to anything that Flip is doing that has anything to do with winning a game?

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Flip has been a playoff caliber coach his entire career; Blatche has been a knucklehead player his entire career, save for 16 games this year as the offensive leader of the NBA's least talented squad. Flip, by the way, is the first NBA coach that actually utilized Blatche's full offensive potential. I tend to give Flip the benefit of the doubt on this one, until I hear both sides of the story.

If the Wiz want to get rid of Flip, that'll probably be fine with Flip. I'm sure he had no idea he signed up for this sideshow. It's easy to pretend that Flip is preventing this D-League squad from winning. The problem isn't Flip; it's personnel. Picking Ramos, Veremeenko, Pecherov, Young, trading our first round pick for contract year role players, trading our second round pick for cash, banking our future on the Big Three -- it's those moves that got us here. Flip's benching of a career knucklehead ? That's merely rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | March 24, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

AB should play for himself.The coach is the king.AB is noting but a 16 game good player in one of the worest team.He still need to establish identitiy before he is trying to challege the coach, if his ankle is bad he should not play,we are not running for playoff.There should be a change of attitude in the rebuilding process. it is his second time to have a problem with the coach, he should be properly handled if expectation is improvment.If AB think success some where, he is wrong.such things will follow him every where he goes, even in china.

Posted by: gtefferra | March 24, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Blatche's insubordination and spiteful asttitude are inexcusable... unless there are factors about which we do not yet know.

At this point, the player's lack of maturity and professionalism is seriously called into question. Still, I wonder just why Saunders (presumably with management's approval) decided to air all of this to the public. Surely, they realize that widening the fissures between the player and the team cannot be in either side's real interests?

If Blatche is self-destructive is this type of tough love really the way to get through to him?

This team is completely dysfunctional, if and when new ownership arrives, it will have to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Posted by: thomas_kecskes | March 24, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

How long will the fans keep using the Andre Blatche is young excuse?

The guy just doesn't get it and he probably never will.

Posted by: Rocky420 | March 24, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Kenbeatrizz that this is the last gasp of a very sick culture that was cultivated years ago and goes well beyond whatever short-comings Flip Saunders may have or the questionable personnel decisions of Grunfeld. Misplaced loyalties to coaches and players, indulging Gilbert over the years, vastly overpaying for two-three players, refusing to develop the younger players until they were forced to, cleaning house, injuries, etc., etc. Flip is now like the substitute teacher on the last day of school that none of the students respect because they know it's all coming down anyway. Put a stake in it.

Posted by: jweber1 | March 24, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Andre Blatche, a career knucklehead...hummmn, well smack my head, that is what mature teens and young adults are called.

Kenbeatrizz, I can't go along with your flag waving for Flip and your indication that Blatche's character is somehow at fault. The other, yes.

You forget too quickly that Blatche came straight from highschool and Flip hasn't done anything lately.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Guys: Flip DID NOT pull McGee in OT. He fouled out. If McGee had a sour expression, it was not because of Flip. Jeeze, you'll blame everything on Flip.

In fact, we've seen shockingly little of Berto, given the circumstances...

Posted by: fifthstop | March 24, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Why is the appraisal price taking so long? Get Flip out of here.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Blatche's behavior seems like that of a petulant, pouty child. That said, I'm not sure Flip is handling this well at all. Calling AB out before the media only exacerbates the problem. I don't see that either of them are seeking resolution. Not good.

Posted by: 7snider7 | March 24, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

""Right now, those teammates, he's lost their credibility. ""

What about you, Flip-Flop? Do you have credibility with the players?

Posted by: Firuz1 | March 24, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

You see I knew that Andre Blatche would not be permitted to play the way he was playing.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD

The way Blatch was playing wasn't winning games either. This team is not good obviously, there are maybe 4-6 teams they have a chance at beating any given night

Posted by: saltine182 | March 24, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

""This is a franchise in complete, system-wide meltdown, from ownership (as in lack thereof) down to the ball boys. If a player did this to a Jerry Sloan or Gregg Popovich, that would be the end of their career on that team. Posted by: jweber1 | March 24, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse""

well said ..add Phil Jackson, Larry Brown and a few other no nonsense coaches on that list - please, if I were Flip I'd suspend this guy for the rest of the season - you never whine, and bail on your team just because you're coach calls you out - except for MJ or players at that level, who the heck does this guy think he is?!??

Posted by: paulserrano | March 24, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse


Excuse me for not paying attention. I missed the foul entirely. Only caught the overtime but somehow missed that McGee had actually fouled out.



Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

The way Blatch was playing wasn't winning games either. This team is not good obviously, there are maybe 4-6 teams they have a chance at beating any given night

Posted by: saltine182 | March 24, 2010 8:57 AM |

I beg to differ, what games are you reffering too after the allstar break when Blatche started his run that they did not win?

I seem to recall that they won a few of them.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

You could see this one coming when Andray began complaining that he was underpaid. This is just an escalation.

I suspect his advisors will get in Blatche's ear and he and Flip will make up. If Andray ever does want a payday of the sort he feels he deserves, then he's going to have to learn to fight his battles in a more controlled fashion. In the larger sense, it's not a question of who was right -- it's about who's the coach. Owners and GMs will put up with a lot of things in the NBA, but open defiance isn't one of them.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 24, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Aww does Blatche need his bottle, and did big meanie Flip not get it for him?

Grow up and be a man. He getting paid millions of dollars to do what he does. If he wants someone to feel sorry for him tell him to go play in a Rec league.

He has always been a quitter, and people constantly make excuses for him because he tall and has a jump shot.

Posted by: dcinmd1 | March 24, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I'm one of those Wiz fans who would exchange Blatche for a decent pick -- if somebody will give one up.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 24, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

""This is a franchise in complete, system-wide meltdown, from ownership (as in lack thereof) down to the ball boys. If a player did this to a Jerry Sloan or Gregg Popovich, that would be the end of their career on that team. Posted by: jweber1 | March 24, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse""

well said ..add Phil Jackson, Larry Brown and a few other no nonsense coaches on that list - please, if I were Flip I'd suspend this guy for the rest of the season - you never whine, and bail on your team just because you're coach calls you out - except for MJ or players at that level, who the heck does this guy think he is?!??

Posted by: paulserrano | March 24, 2010 9:06 AM

And if Flip Saunders was as competent as any of those aforenamed coaches what Blatche did would never have happened.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I read an article about Flip being angry with MM for refusing to shoot. How about suspending HIM? On a team that needs points, this 10 million dollar vet refuses to listen to the coach. Is this any worse than what AB did?
Not to me.

Posted by: original_mark | March 24, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

At least MM was out there on the floor, trying to make a contribution. If this thing is being reported accurately, AB refused to go back into a game to help his teammates in a game that the team could have, and probably should have, won, because his feelings got hurt. How is that not worse?

Posted by: rbpalmer | March 24, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

The veterans on this team three years ago complained about the attitude of the young players, i.e., Blatche et al.

They wouldn't listen to Eddie Jordan, they wouldn't listen to Tapscott, they wouldn't listen to Jamison and the veterans.

But Saunders is now to blame?

This team has had three coaches and the same stuff from the same players is occurring. Conclusion: it ain't the coaches.

Some people live in a parallel universe where up is down and left is right.

Posted by: SteveMG | March 24, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

This reminds me of the Redskins' wide receiver Laveraneus Coles, complaining a few years back that he wasn't getting the ball enough. Joe Bugel pointed out that he caught 90 passes the previous year, far more than any other WR.

These guys sometimes lose perspective.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 24, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"You forget too quickly that Blatche came straight from highschool and Flip hasn't done anything lately."

And what has Blatche done lately except "lead" his team to 11 straight losses while padding his personal resume? And the "straight from H.S." stuff is staler than a week old bagel. He's a 5-year vet, not a rookie still learning the ropes. He called himself a leader a couple of weeks ago. Leaders don't quit on their teams because the coach yelled at them. Can't have it both ways. Either he's just a kid (in which case Flip is fully justified in treating him like one) or he's a veteran leader (in which case Flip is fully justified in expecting him to act like one).

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 24, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to hear Ab's take on the exchange. I think some of you would be surprised that flip wasn't as warm and cuddly as he played it in the presser. He's the 50 win coach who's not measuring up to expectations this year. The losing might get to Ab but he just went through a 19 win season. This is uncharted territory for Flip. It might be getting to him. I'm just saying....

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 24, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Some people live in a parallel universe where up is down and left is right.

Posted by: SteveMG

Or the "Hood" where rules and respect is a foreign matter.

Posted by: hock1 | March 24, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

What do you expect? Players have their own PR agents, marketing experts and assorted other yes men surrounding them day and night; in essence they're each their own brand and many think as such they're above coaching.

This is what some people want in the college ranks, too. Read detractors of a four-year teacher like Gary Williams and you'll find comments like: "You should recruit the top players and then cater to their talents."

In other words, get the hell out of the way and let the spoiled children rule the court.

Posted by: scrappledog | March 24, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Or the "Hood" where rules and respect is a foreign matter.

Conflicts between players and coaches go back to the very beginning of sports.

This isn't about the "hood" or anything other than egos and personalities.

Young people with money and success not listening to the previous generation.

That's a story that goes back to the beginning of time. I'm 45 and I remember being an arrogant snot when I was 21.

Yeah, I'm still an arrogant snot but I'm working on it. Sorta'.

Posted by: SteveMG | March 24, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Unbelievable. Now all of a sudden, Blatche is a superstar. I say get rid of him. They need to get some players in here who are hungry and want to win.

Blatche is being paid a fair wage to "play" a sport he allegedly loves. Then he pouts win his supervisor reprimands him for not performing his duties. I'd like to have him work with me on my job for about a month. That's wishful thinking becasue he's too soft and he'd probably quit.

On the other hand, I like Coach Saunders. He's proven to be a no-nonsense coach. I hope he gets a group of players who will listen to him and want to play for him.

Posted by: carterm1 | March 24, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, something is bothering Blatche between him and his coach, and this must have happened either before the game or during the course of the season because I don't see Dre doing that for no reason at all.

I don't agree with what he did, but there is a reason for it.

As far as Flip is concerned?

He's to blame for a WHOLE batch of problems Washington is dealing with!

1. Player rotation - no consistency whatsoever.

2. Confidence building - this coach would rather play Oberto than McGee. What does THAT tell you?

3. Detroit WHO? - You can't keep talking about what you did in the past with another squad. He inherited an entirely different situation when coming to Washington and your job should only be as secure as the performance you put out for that season if you drag your championship experience into the picture.

4. Media darling - this guy knows all the right stuff to tell the media but in effect, that constant twitching he does? Tells me he's hiding facts. Basically, he's a big fat fibber.

5. Attitude adjustment - he needs one as well as his players. Wait, I thought that's what he was going to do BEFORE the season started? My bad...

Flip needs to go imp...bring in a tough as nails coach, one who isn't a pushover and one that'll whip these young guys into shape. Dre is poised to be a star in the NBA, but he needs better leadership. So does Nick does Javale.

But with Grunsfeld in the mix...that could be a very difficult thing.

Posted by: cbmuzik | March 24, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Don't give up on Blatche. I think flips comments are fair and only benching a player will send him the message. Blatche has to mature here or else he is going to a title contending team like CWebb years back. This is one of the few Good Contracts in the league.

Also the Most improve player award is the kiss of death and years following it stuff happens. You might as well take a ride on the injury train with Tmac, Gilbert, Jermaine, etc

Posted by: jefferu | March 24, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Get rid of him! Maybe Blatche and Arenas in a package deal. Start from scratch. Hope Ted buys it soon. Keep Flip. He seems like a good man.

Posted by: boyn4884 | March 24, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Can we please just contract this gang of criminals and losers so they can stop embarassing this city. Seriously, we have had enough.

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Posted by: nikejordans1 | March 24, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

everybody just calm big deal......

In my opinion, AB is being overly criticized...look at all the rings he has, player of the year awards, all star appearances, playoff wins, playoff appearances - he's a leader, the future of the Wizards, a foundation to build around. Him and the Great 8 - no difference.

Flip...he ain't been there in a while, but you can't make a piece of s__t smell like a rose no matter how much perfume you put on it. This team is not very good at all.

Posted by: outrbnksm | March 24, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

What AB did was inexcusable and he should probably not play tonight.

But Flip has been LOUSY all year, no two ways about it.

Posted by: divi3 | March 24, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

LarryInClinton, did you watch the game last night? I'm assuming from your posts that you did not because I don't think you could be more inaccurate in some of your statements regarding the treatment of Blatche, coaching decisions, etc. For the record, McGee FOULED out last night in OT. He wasn't benched. When he sat down on the bench and the guy next to him slid over out of the way, he was shaking his head for one of two reasons: 1. The foul on McGee was ticky tack and probably didn't agree with the call. 2. By then, the game was all but over and he was venting his frustrations. One could have viewed it as him shaking his head in disappointed because he knew the game could have been different if Blatche was in the game, but we won't go that far in our assumption.

Secondly, Blatche wasn't benched for anything he did on offense. He was benched because of his inability to play defense, get back on defense, recognize what to do on defense, etc. Every good coach knows that you need defense to win games and why not try to teach that to 4 year veteran after he's made yet another mistake. If you can't play defense, you're not going to win, ask the Phoenix Suns. Sure they were an exciting team in their prime, but they never sniffed a championship because they couldn't play defense.
Good coaches are hard to come by in this league, so while Flip is by no means a Phil Jackson or Larry Brown, both Hall of Famers, he has earned the right to be respected by his players. But every now and then there's a player who thinks he knows it all and is going to do it his way regardless. Larry Brown had this problem with Stephon Marbury. This no nonsense coach couldn't get that guy to play.

So to LarryinClinton, while it's obvious you're not a Flip Saunders fan, realize that he is the best coach this team has had in quite a while. Unfortunately the players that are currently on the team are the least dedicated and emotionally unattached to the team/city/fans etc. that we've had in a very long time.

Posted by: covertops26 | March 24, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

People are dead set on arguing it's either Flip or AB at fault.

Ridiculous. Everyone is actually right!

Flip hasn't done much for the team yet. But what team does he have? You can't even say they are a team. Right now, they are just a group of players.

I've always known AB was a good player. A good player. Not great. He's put up great numbers but he's not a great player. Why he's not great? We can argue forever. Who cares anyhow? He's good and not a great. That we can agree upon.

One thing you can say is that Flip has had some good success in the NBA. He' a good coach. Not a great coach. So far, he's a coach that could get a team to the conference finals but that's it.

Can Flip or AB be great? Sure. I'm not sure they will. First, we need a team again for them to prove that.

I've been watching the Wiz from the sidelines for most of this decade. I like Flip as a coach better than Jordan. And since AB came on board, I've always felt he had so much potential. He still does. However, few teams outside of the Wiz wouldn't have waited this long for him to come along.

As for benching yourself, who knows what you can believe about that. But if AB did bench himself, shame on him. And lucking for him that he still gets paid for benching himself.

Regardless, you have a coach to direct the team. You listen to a coach for advice and direction. You have a towel guy on the court to give you towels. You have doctors to make sure you are healthy. If you don't listen to the doctor, you'll always be hurt. If you don't listen to your coach you won't play team ball and you won't play. And if you don't listen to your towel guy, you'll just end up all sweaty and without a towel.

Posted by: mirlan | March 24, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

It sounds like it is time for a players only meeting or as we used to say in the military "blanket party", with AB as the guest of honor!!!!

Posted by: bullets_0000 | March 24, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry guys. Normally, I would agree with everyone who thinks this is Blatche's misdoings. I think there is more to it than that. I don't think Saunders has a good grip on how he is running this team and I also will predict that this episode with Blatche is just the surface bubblings of something much deeper and widespread. We shall see.

Posted by: bobilly2 | March 24, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Good for Flip. At this point he's probably wondering why anyone would want to coach any team in Washington, save for the one owned by Ted Leonsis. Blatche is an idiot.

When they blew up the team I got a propaganda email from Andy Pollin about how I'd now get to see great young players like Blatche (and thus should re-up on my tickets; fat chance). Right..."great young players" like D-leaguers Javale and Young, and petulant baby Blatche.

Posted by: stratman1 | March 24, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

So to LarryinClinton, while it's obvious you're not a Flip Saunders fan, realize that he is the best coach this team has had in quite a while. Unfortunately the players that are currently on the team are the least dedicated and emotionally unattached to the team/city/fans etc. that we've had in a very long time.

Posted by: covertops26 | March 24, 2010 10:33 AM |

Beep Beep!

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 24, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

1. DRE - WINNERS NEVER QUIT AND QUITTERS NEVER WIN! Its a blessing to have the skills and talent you've been givin. Don't become a constant loser on the court and in life.
2. Flip - Stop comparing Dre to KG...thats part of the problem. Find different buttons to motivate him mentally.
3. Ted/Pollins - Stop the bleeding and get the deal done so that there is solid leadership at the top.
4. Ernie - Have a long talk with Flip and Dre together and get to the bottom of this mess. Call in "Dr. Phil" if you have to. LOYAL WIZ FANS DONT DESERVE THIS MESS!

Posted by: Stevie-J | March 24, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

'Zards need to decide if they want Flip as the coach or not. If so, they need to clean house and support him. If not, so be it and keep these deadbeats with attitudes and millions guaranteed. The NBA needs to drop guaranteed contracts pronto. This stuff would still be going on, but, not with malcontents whose performance against talent is lacking, at best. Also, try making the coach the most highly paid person on the team. Then, see how much respect these idiots have for their coach. Al McGuire was right, the coach needs to be the highest paid member of the team. The only thing missing in this debacle is Wilbon supporting Blatche. Has anyone forgotten how woeful this team is? Poor Ted.

Posted by: KDSmallJr | March 24, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

He refused to play? "No play no pay" Andre. Take a hike.

Posted by: mitlen | March 24, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

As someone who has been an employer and an employee, it is obvious to me these guys are listening to all the praise coming their way and think they are above critism. No employee is above doing what the boss wants them to do , right or wrong. Work hard to get better or trade them and get coachabel engergetic people in there who at least try hard all the time. win or lose.

Posted by: Oilcan4148 | March 24, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Ppl need to chill. He made a mistake. He's young."

I'm tired of hearing that about the young black players in the league when they act up..blaming it on growing up with drugs, without dads, friends shot, hood lifestyle....yadayada.....get over it already, and grow up...stop blaming bad behavior on all these things...Cause lots of other people grow up in similar circumstances and know how to act properly in life.

Posted by: nowhine | March 24, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Blatche is obviously wrong but Saunders has proven to be a (in best Bill Walton) HORRIBLE JUST HORRIBLE coach. Guy should be canned 1 minute after season ends.

Posted by: dovelevine | March 24, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It's difficult to summon enough interest in the Wizards to even write a post. Even so, "flash" has been my nickname for Blatche for the past 3 years, i.e., he's shown flashes of greatness since he got here, followed by long stretches of mediocrity. Since the the All-Star break, he almost had me convinced that he had turned the corner, but not quite. There's been too many sightings of Blatche at this nightclub or that nightclub, drunk off his a**, doing stuff like drinking Grey Goose straight from the bottle, for me to have any faith in his supposed, new found and long overdue, maturity. Fool me once, you know what I mean?

Flip shows me nothing. I never thought he was the right fit for this team. If he starts another sentence with "I had Kevin Garnett," I think I'll toss my lunch. Who cares that you had Kevin Garnett, Flip? That was 15 years ago; before they ran your butt out of Minnesota, which, by the way, was also before they ran your butt out of Detroit. Guess what? You don't have Garnett here to make you look good. So shut up about Garnett already. When Flip came in as Mr. Nice Guy, touchy-feely, "I bought ipods for all my players," it confirmed for me that we were in trouble. Mr. Nice Guy is not what this team needed. How did that ipod crap work out? This team showed zero cohesion, even before all the Gilbert drama started. I can't indentify a single thing Flip has done this year to make the team or its players better. For example, what happened to Randy Foye? Foye started off the year very nicely, got hurt, and then couldn't make his way back into the regular lineup. Has Foye improved under Flip's tutelage? Not exactly.

Which leads me to Grunfeld, who hired Flip, kept head case Blatche while getting rid of Butler, a guy who was this team's heart and soul, and who, by the way, loved D.C. as much as D.C. loved him. He gave a 100 million dollar contract to Arenas, evidently before knowing whether or not Arenas could even play again. Again, how did that work out? Grunfeld made a few nice moves about five years ago, and since then he's been a failure. Why did he fire Jordan last year, 10 or so games into the season, only to replace him with an interim coach and watch the team go on to win a grand total of 19 games? What was that supposed to accomplish? This entire organization, from the coach on down, has Grunfeld's fingerprints all over it. He's on his way to his second consecutive, fifty loss season. Whether you blame the players or the coach, all of them are here because of Grunfeld. The owner should fire him. But wait, we don't have an owner.

Well, there you have it. For a guy who didn't have much interest in writing about this team, I sure wrote a lot. But I think that'll do it for me. My Wizard off season has already started.

Posted by: sonny2 | March 24, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Obviously this team has NO leader like Kevin Garnet. The leaders are Arenas and Blatche. With a cheap contract I would sit Blatche at the end of the bench until his contract expires or his attitude changes. @3million per year till 2012. He has 2 full seasons to grow up.

Posted by: jercha | March 24, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Calling AB out before the media only exacerbates the problem.

During play on the floor ,Flip is constantly yelling @ Dre. When he (Dre) stood up for himself against KG, whom he was killing, and the KG started muscling and fat mouthing. Flip came to the post game armed to bring Dre down (which he did). When JJ Hickson did the same including some physical stuff to KG, all his teamates and coaches praised him for the way he stood up to KG. Some people (those that have been around it knows this well) cannot be your whipping boy, which Blatche obviously is not. Only NY and Blatche feels Flip's wrath on a consistent basis. No matter what his favorites does he never says a word (publicly). Look at the way Randy is used. For 10 games he averages double digit points and 6 plus assists, but what does Flip do? He sits him and let EB dribble out the shot clock regularly and TO's galore. Come on folk, don't overlook the forest for the trees. Flip is not being straight forward.

Posted by: bossclifnpooh2 | March 24, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, cheap contract by NBA standards. These guys just don't realize what a priviledge it is to "play a game" and to make a living doing it. So let's put it in perspective. Blatche "only" makes 3 million a year. That means it will cost him $36,585 per game. Wow, a lot of people in this economy would love to make that much for an annual salary. Now don't get me started on Arenass.

Posted by: giwort | March 24, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The inmates cannot run the asylum. While Blatche has shown to be a talented player, he still has moments of immaturity and selfishness. Maybe Flip isn't a great coach. Maybe he should be fired. But you cannot have players disrepecting the coach. This team has gone to crap!

Posted by: thecomedian1 | March 24, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I would just clean house.

Posted by: thecomedian1 | March 24, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

He was barely in the huddle during a timeout with less than 5 seconds left in the game. Clearly didn't care about the game. Star Player? No sir.

Posted by: malawiboy2003 | March 24, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Bench him for the remainder of the season and trade him for whatever you can get, but ensure it is to some outcast city like OKC.

Posted by: StLou | March 24, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Where are all the folks that were high on Blatche after the trades? This guy and all the Bullets are LOSERS!

Posted by: hessone | March 24, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

This is a very good reason to go forward with more performance based contracts. when you give some young kids a ton of cash and they don't have to worry about unemployment....bad news. there are very few that have the intrinsic motivation to seperate the salary from their "greatness" and work their A55's off to be the best regardless of monitary compensation. For most, they would perform better if they were rewarded based on perfromace.

Posted by: tsch38301 | March 24, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Hope the club suspends pay for Blatche until he at least ATTEMPTS to do what they ask. There has to be a non-performance clause in his contract.

Posted by: shanks1 | March 24, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anything will change in this organization unless the Pollin family gets out of the pro basketball business and sells the franchise to someone who can rebuild a successful team.

With all due respect to the memory of Abe Pollin, the decisions made during the past few years about personnel are, to be kind, questionable. Who hired Grunfeld?

the team needs new ownership, and hopefully then they will start over- bring in someone else as GM, let Saunders go, and overhaul the team.

Posted by: sanderling5 | March 24, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Most of the player just think they are better than they really are. Quit a long time ago paying for these cry-babies salaries. the wizards management is among the worst ever in the NBA (and there have been some bad franchises in the past).
It is both AB's and Flip's fault. ABs fault for thinking he is the savior and Flip's for actually taking the job and thinking he could help turn this bunch of losers around.

Posted by: mrcox54 | March 24, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

@bossclifnpooh2: You said everything that I wanted to say about the Flip-Blatche blowup.

Saunders has his whipping boys on this team. Until team injuries forced Flip's hand, JaVale McGee was on the "whipping boy" list. Nick Young is a permanent member! I can understand any coach being agitated with an insubordinate player. Insubordination is not acceptable. But, that's a matter that should be handled in the locker room or in the coaches office. Ranting to the press during the postgame interview won't cut it. It cheapens the player's ability, the coaches effectiveness and the teams' overall image. Any Pop Warner, Babe Ruth, or semipro coach learns that lesson early in his career OR he won't be successful in handling athletes. I think that Flip realizes that each succesive Wizards loss brings him closer to termination. And it's not just the fact that the team is losing, it's HOW they're losing games. Throwing certain players under the bus is, in my opinion, an attempt to take the focus off of bad coaching.

Andray Blatche doesn't get a free pass either. He needs to gain some self control of his emotions. He may feel that he is being singled out for his shortcomings. But, when you're the face of the franchise [at least until Gilbert's return], everything you do will be magnified. Andray's playing skills have elevated to a higher level. It's time to elevate his mental toughness.

Another poster indicated that a "players-only" meeting would be beneficial. I agree. Sometimes men have to work things out amongst themselves.

Posted by: musicmanjr | March 24, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Blatche is a complete idiot. This team needs a second blow-up -- trade Blatche for a draft pick, and rebuild this team with players who have character and want to win.

Posted by: john24 | March 24, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

He is earning a lot of future $$$ with his play, now that Jamison is gone. And this is how he repays us? What an immature idiot. I thought we were beyond this with him.

Posted by: daddy00 | March 24, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Flip Saunders really needs to learn how to keep things in house. This is usually a problem players have. But as we've seen time and time again this season, Flip has gone to the media to air out his problems with this player or that player. It's getting really old.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 24, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey Flip,

If you think he's a punk on the court, you should see him in the clubs around here,he's a bigger punk.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | March 24, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the Wizards Flip....

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | March 24, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter.

Blatche needs to go after this season. He has shown over the years that mentally he will never be a core performer. He just doesn't have the toughness to compete 100% night in and night out at this level.

There isn't any player on the Wizards team that is indispensable.

Blatche is one of the few remaining left over problems.

Posted by: leopard09 | March 24, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

WOW!! This franchise is at an all time low. What's next the team will be packing up moving to Indy? The team is a mess and who is responsible for the mess I don't know but I believe there is enough blame for all. At this point to many folks have been given a pass including Ernie, Flip, and any remaining players from last year. No one has control of this team. No one has control! It is obvious we are playing the year out working for a lottery pick next year but this is a joke. Watch what you will see in the next few weeks is players getting hurt and cannot play - more and more players will be getting hurt. The team has displayed this behavior over and over again and again. Someone has to hold someone accoutable. I can't afford to go to games because of the high prices and I have been a fan since 1977, honestly, at this point, you couldn't give me a ticket. What a mess!!

Posted by: Baller1122 | March 24, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Everybody wondered if Blatche could keep up his current play. I think that question has been answered. Blatche is far from a professional.

Posted by: sjp879 | March 24, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Blatche, along with Gilbert and Young, have the maturity of a 5 year old. Get rid of these guys and get guys with leadership and maturity (and playing ability).

Folks should not be getting on Flip as he has the years and credibility.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | March 24, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Matters should have never deteriorated to this point, and that's Flip's fault. If Blatche is uncoachable, he doesn't play, period. Yes, the team's lost 11 in a row, but that is in spite of Blatche's play. He's been the best player on the team, he's played hurt, and he probably felt insulted by how Flip spoke to him. He probably felt he deserved better. You can say he should not have, but he did, and if Flip knows his players like a good coach should, he should have known how Blatche would react.

Successful coaches figure out how to put their players in situations in which they can succeed. Anyone can run out studs who can figure out how to succeed for themselves, but that is not coaching, and that's certainly not this bunch.

Flip's had success elsewhere, but he's also been fired elsewhere. There's a reason he was unemployed. He's a retread and if he doesn't get it together, this will be his last NBA head coaching job. Funny how the Phil Jacksons and Gregg Popovichs never have these kinds of problems. But then, they're smart enough to nip it in the bud.

Posted by: gbooksdc | March 24, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

D.A.N. Behavior

Posted by: chamidi | March 24, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

These are the type of JackAsses that got Eddie Jordan fired.
In all the years Jamison and Butler were here we never had this type of problem
Blatche should be cut today. Cut Him. I see these young guys like
Yhornton, and Gee,and Singleton just glad for the opportunity to play and we have guys like Blatche cut him

Posted by: Carprin | March 24, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

i would totally package andre for a decent pick.

He is NOT a franchise base. He is part of a cancer that has been allowed to grow too long in this team.

Spare no one.

Posted by: gconrads | March 24, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Reading the posts was a better read than the article itself.

In short, we Wizards fans are FED UP!!! I truly believe that we are the most loyal fans in the league. If we had a winning team, we would be the most intimidating place to play in the league. We've proven that with the short bursts of success we've had in the past 30 years.

Enough with the Flip/AB thing! As many of you have said, it starts at the top. This season is only a microcosm of what is going on with ownership, or lack there of.


I'm going to watch the Caps. BTW, what is icing?

Posted by: sirsb | March 24, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Blatche has game! It was unnecessary for Blatche to decide not to play anymore (if that is what happened). Usually a BALLER never quits. If Blatche strongly disagreed with something Saunders and/or the other coaches asked him to do, he should have gone out and played his type of game. If Flip had a problem with how he (Blatche) was playing after he played his game, he should force Flip to bench him, not quit. If a player is productive and plays his game, it is very unlikely for a coach to discipline him. It is unfortunate that it had to get to this point.

Posted by: asmith61 | March 24, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

There was a story on the radio here in Portland that claimed Flip let Blatche have it after the Celtics game because he wasn't treating his boy KG with the respect a future hall-of-famer deserves. This after Flip violated his own "no fraternizing with the opposition" before the game rule. If Blatche plays like a punk it is most likely because he has modeled his game after the great and powerful KG.

Posted by: mrbhaus | March 24, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

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