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Wizards try to snap nine-game skid in Portland

Morning brew

After a two-day break, the Wizards' West Coast trip continues in Portland, where they will try to halt a season-high nine-game losing streak. Coach Flip Saunders said Andray Blatche's sprained left ankle has his availability at about "50-50" against the Trail Blazers. But the Wizards will have a "lighter" Fabricio Oberto, who is free of the heart monitor that he had to wear the past week.

Over at NBA Fanhouse, Chris Tomasson talks to Blatche, who tells him that he feels "underpaid" now that he is averaging 24.4 points and 9.5 rebounds in the past 16 games. Blatche signed a five-year, $12.5 million contract in 2007.

Hoops Addicts' Rashad Mobley contributes to Truth About It, where he writes that Nick Young should pattern his game more after J.R. Smith.

Former Wizards president of basketball operations Michael Jordan has now become the first former NBA player to become an NBA owner. He spoke about his transition on Thursday, claiming that the Charlotte Bobcats are his "No. 1 priority." Now that Jordan has moved on up, the man known for drafting Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison sums up his career as a basketball executive.

The blog Stadium Journey focuses on the arena experience at Verizon Center. The rating? Average. Correspondent Geoff Crawley ends with this kicker: "I mean, if you are DYING to see bad basketball, I guess you could go in. If you sit close enough, they may ask you to play."

Portland continues to deal with the aftermath of the surprising firing of Tom Penn. Blazers president Larry Miller discusses that move and the future of general manager Kevin Pritchard in an interview the Columbian.

Salary cap expert Larry Coon updates the status of labor talks in the New York Times.


By Michael Lee  |  March 19, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
 
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Next: Wizards sign Livingston for remainder of the season [UPDATED]

Comments

why do they randomly show pictures of JR smith with potentially underaged girls in his story. Could be a jeans commercial

Posted by: jefferu | March 19, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

If Blatche can be traded for a high lottery pick the Wizards need to do it. His value will never be higher and players that start talking about being underpaid and not appreciated tend to get shipped out within a year or two anyway.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 19, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

djnnou, are you crazy? Blatche is a beast right now. I think he's as good as any big in the league. Have you been watching his moves lately? Imagine what he will be like next year. There aint no draft pick I would take over him straight up let alone knowing that he only is going to be making 3mil the next 2 years.

He's talking about being underpaid because he is and players like that dont get shipped out. This isnt the NFL. Players who talk about more money get shipped out because there contract is up and they think they are worth alot more than the really are. This is not the case here. Anyone can see that Blatche is worth way more than 3mil

Posted by: dlts20 | March 19, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

If Blatche can be traded for a high lottery pick the Wizards need to do it. His value will never be higher and players that start talking about being underpaid and not appreciated tend to get shipped out within a year or two anyway.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 19, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

So, we have a young player who is, at least right now, producing all-star calibre numbers, and is signed through 2012 for (in NBA terms) peanuts, and you want to trade him for a draft choice who MIGHT produce at a similar level in 2-3 years? And this makes sense how?

Posted by: rbpalmer | March 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Im most interested in seeing Blatche tonight. You could tell that he was starting to get like clockwork and totally understanding when to go inside, when to go outside, and realizing that he can back down even big guys. He was getting better & better with his moves on every possesion. Now Im worried will that ankle injury hold him back some. Can he still make those quick spin moves into the post, attack hard off the dribble, and will he be as aggressive? When Singelton had his, he wasnt the same guy for like the first 5 games but now he’s back to playing well again.

Blatche’s wasnt as bad so hopefully he doesnt go in the tank for a few games but you can tell that it has to be somewhat tender. Add to that we have games coming up against really big & good frontcourts in the Blazers & LA so I wouldnt be shocked if he didnt play well but if he does then that just shows you how good he is going to be. If Flip is smart he will put him on Camby and let McGee & Singelton guard Aldridge. Lamarcus also isnt that physical so we could go small some in this game with Thorton at the 4 if needed

Posted by: dlts20 | March 19, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

...it's definitely going to bother me a lot because I'm definitely going to feel underpaid and like I'm not being appreciated,'' Blatche said. "But there's nothing I can do about that.''

Except whine about it.

I like Blatche (or maybe the "idea of Blatche"), since he is the first player of any note that the Wiz have developed internally in God knows how long (maybe Haywood though I'm not sure how much he developed here from his NC days and he's history now anyway). Great talent. But Blatche's ongoing hangdog attitude, as evidenced above, continues to annoy. For a guy whose been so woefully all over the place for 4 years, and has been "good" (on a terrible team) for about 10 seconds, I'd like to see a bit more humility and reality in terms of what we've put up with him and what he's so far returned to the organization. Underpaid? Not yet IMHO.

Posted by: ArchieTambo | March 19, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The chances of Blatche playing for the Wizards after next year's trade deadline at 3mil/yr are very slim. He has less than a year to secure a new deal under the current CBA. I'd prefer a pick than watching the Wizards overpay him or forced to make a trade and getting little back.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 19, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"If Blatche can be traded for a high lottery pick the Wizards need to do it. His value will never be higher and players that start talking about being underpaid and not appreciated tend to get shipped out within a year or two anyway." - djnnnou

Dude, did you read the article or just the above highlight quote of 'underpaid?' In the interview Blatche said these things:

"I look at the situation as being underpaid,'' Blatche, 23, said in an interview with FanHouse. "I understand why I got the contract that I got and I make the best of it.''

"I went for the long deal for security,'' Blatche said of later that summer signing the five-year contract for about half of what a player would get for a deal using the mid-level exception. "It was either that or a one-year deal for close to nothing. I was like, 'OK, I'll just take it.'''

"But it's already done. It was already in the works [at the time of his arrest]. I just have to live with it ... Who would have known this situation where I would [now] be the key go-to guy?''

So it doesn't sound like he's complaining or blaming the organization. In fact, the article fails to state what he was asked. He's not going around to the media complaining. FanHouse went to him about an article on underpaid players, and probably asked him, "Do you feel underpaid now that you are putting up great numbers?" And let's face it, Union rules don't allow his contract to be redone at this point, so even if the Wizards wanted to pay him more, they can't, and he knows that.

Posted by: segastyle | March 19, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

If we have the leagues best underpaid player than have the leagues worse overpaid player for the next 3 years (gilbert). Blatche must be thinking even if gilbert isn't here he is still taking a dump in my shoes with the money he gettin

Posted by: jefferu | March 19, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The chances of Blatche playing for the Wizards after next year's trade deadline at 3mil/yr are very slim. He has less than a year to secure a new deal under the current CBA. I'd prefer a pick than watching the Wizards overpay him or forced to make a trade and getting little back.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 19, 2010 2:01 PM

What are you talking about? He's under contract for 2 more seasons after this one.

Posted by: divi3 | March 19, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"If Blatche can be traded for a high lottery pick the Wizards need to do it. His value will never be higher and players that start talking about being underpaid and not appreciated tend to get shipped out within a year or two anyway."

All good points, but ultimately moot because no one is trading a high lottery pick for Andray Blatche.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 19, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

All good points, but ultimately moot because no one is trading a high lottery pick for Andray Blatche.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 19, 2010 2:12 PM

I dont know about that, but am assuming EG is way too smart to trade AB for a pick so hopefully it's a moot point.

Posted by: divi3 | March 19, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The very fact that--after 4+ years of half-assing it, showing up to camp out of shape, pouting on the court, whining about playing time, and making bonehead showboat plays that hurt his team--Blatch has the cajones to bi*ch about being underpaid after a dozen good games on a team that's sinking faster than the Titanic is utterly laughable.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 19, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"In fact, the article fails to state what he was asked. He's not going around to the media complaining. FanHouse went to him about an article on underpaid players, and probably asked him, "Do you feel underpaid now that you are putting up great numbers?""

The fact that they asked him a question doesn't inherently dictate what his answer has to be. In other words, even if they asked him straight out if he felt underpaid, that didn't obligate him to say "I think I'm underpaid" which (A) he's not and (B) is a silly thing to say, even if it's what he believes.

At least he didn't say he had a family to feed.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 19, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

[i]"Definitely next year, if I'm going out and I'm doing the same thing and I become an All-Star player, it's definitely going to bother me a lot because I'm definitely going to feel underpaid and like I'm not being appreciated,'' Blatche said. "But there's nothing I can do about that.'[/i]

For a second, I thought he was being taken out of context in claiming he was underpaid. But this quote definitely showed his immaturity. Definitely, definitely shows immaturity, definitely...

He's played 16 games at a high level on a team with few scoring options (keeping in mind that bad teams do engender stats inflation.) He's playing very well. But if Jamison and Butler couldn't make All Star squads because they were leading a team in the bottom of the heap, neither will Blatche.

Beyond that, not feeling appreciated? As if a team is going to restructure his contract in the middle just because he starts to play well now. Play well until the end of your contract, see what is offered next, then talk about how you feel appreciated.

Better yet, don't talk about it. Just do your job with class.

Posted by: crs-1 | March 19, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"Im most interested in seeing Blatche tonight. You could tell that he was starting to get like clockwork and totally understanding when to go inside, when to go outside, and realizing that he can back down even big guys. He was getting better & better with his moves on every possesion. Now Im worried will that ankle injury hold him back some."

That's what is so encouraging about his play, he makes it all look pretty easy which is a great sign for next season and beyond. The talk of "somebody has to score on a bad team" would hold water if he was shooting 41% and hoisting 25fga's a night. But he's not and the team being terrible doesnt put the ball in the hoop.

I'd almost like to see him sit tonight, just to see what he has full bore against Pau and Bynum. That could be a brutal night given that JM will likely be abused/ineffective

Posted by: divi3 | March 19, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

italics fail. my apologies.

Posted by: crs-1 | March 19, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

When blatche says theres nothing he can do about it hes wrong. Couldn't he request a buy out then sign to another team? Not that he'd wants to leave this great team and these fans that support the wizards till death.

Posted by: jefferu | March 19, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Over/under paid is always subjective either compared to the situation a year or so ago, or to another player. Blatche was paid just right a few months ago with what he was doing. He might be underpaid now compared to Gilbert, Howard and Miller.
Hopefully he keeps playing hard, thereby gaining the respect of his teammates and coaches.

Posted by: rickgonz | March 19, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

When blatche says theres nothing he can do about it hes wrong. Couldn't he request a buy out then sign to another team? Not that he'd wants to leave this great team and these fans that support the wizards till death.

Posted by: jefferu | March 19, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Why would the GM do that? Give up a player that's got a valid contract at an agreed salary who's actually producing? Team management would only consider that if the player was a detriment to the whole team. See Starbury.

Posted by: rickgonz | March 19, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

what's the problem with a guy saying that "if I'm going out and I'm doing the same thing and I become an All-Star player, it's definitely going to bother me a lot because I'm definitely going to feel underpaid"? He qualified it with "if" i come out next year and ball at this same level or better, then i will feel underpaid. I think any player playing at an all star level for just over 2 mil a year would feel underpaid too. Especially with some of the salaries around here. he might be taking a swipe at our upcoming FAs who stand to walk or get overpaid to stay. In terms of production on this team, is he not a underpaid right now.
I don't think he sounds immature at all. In fact he sounds like he fully understands that it was his choice to sign the deal. He goes so far as to rationalize it by mentioning longterm security vs. a 1 year deal in a situation where he felt like he wouldn't get a chance to raise his value.
Finally, fanhouse was running an article about the most underpaid players in the league. While he wasn't compelled to give the answer he gave; it's pretty much understood that he was supposed to say something about being an underpaid player.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 19, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Why would the GM do that? Give up a player that's got a valid contract at an agreed salary who's actually producing? Team management would only consider that if the player was a detriment to the whole team. See Starbury.

Posted by: rickgonz | March 19, 2010 3:02 PM

i think jefferu was being sarcastic re: fans ripping on AB while he's playing like an All-Star.

but i could be wrong

Posted by: divi3 | March 19, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I like Blatche's game a lot. I think he should have been playing ahead of Jamison last year. You could see last year that he plays better when starting rather than coming off the bench. However, after 16 games of great production I would suggest that he wait to use word "underpaid" until the middle of next year. Nothing turns people/fans off more than hearing about a person making $3 million and saying they are underpaid (even if he means by NBA standards). I know he can argue that EJ and ET held him back and an unwritten rule about letting Jamison and Bulter have the right to first refusal when it came to shots. Still this kind of talk does not serve him well and if I were his agent I would tell him to keep his mouth closed and when he turns 25 demand what you believe you're worth.

Posted by: 33dgriffin | March 19, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The way I look at it is, Blatche was overpaid for the first 287 games he was here, and underpaid for the last 16. So you could say it all evens out eventually.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 19, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Obviously a little too early for AB to talk about being underpaid, but it sounds like he has it mostly in perspective. Hard to tell if his response was a simple answer to the question he was asked or a precursor to asking for a better deal, but given his comments acknowledging that he signed for long-term security and acknowledging that his arrest played a part, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

If he puts up consistent numbers for the rest of this year and through next the all-star break next year, I think he can legitimately begin to ask for a better deal.

Posted by: ts35 | March 19, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

funny to think that when he first signed the extension he was surely like "i'm riiiiiich biaaatch!!"

then he spends 5hrs a day with Gil Grotto and Antawn Manpurse and feels "poor"

it's all about your peers

Posted by: divi3 | March 19, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Uhh! Hello! Finally a topic that's volatile.

Blatche comes right out and says he underpaid. Fantastic. I love it. Great cowpie!

He is putting this ramshamble organization on notice he has had enough and he ain't gonna take it no more.

I applaud him. Leaders stand up for what they believe. Losers accept loosing.

Fact, he is underpaid. Now what. Do the organization wait until his contract is up and then reward him. That might work.

But maybe when Ted Leonsis takes over this poorly run organization he might see some value in renogotiating Blatches contract before then. For if you wait, he might walk, just like Javale McGee and his momma, because of the current poor player management.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 19, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

He's had enough of being 'underpaid' for 16 games?

Larry did you read the article or just the headline?

Posted by: ts35 | March 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

AB is going to be offered an extension as soon as the team felt he is going to take the team some where.The earlier he pick the offer the less he is going to get, he will be advised by his agent to continue to improve, try to push it to playoff and ask extension at around this time next year, he will get what he deserve.If the team decide to continue to make him play at high level with a 20 ppg and 9rpg for 2 years it is a bad decision. Most teams offer extension to their stars as soon as they feel it is time. wiz did not offer extension for GA, he use his option( i do not know if he is offered and decline to take it).Most star level players will decline offers to test the market if they have options for the last year of the contract, which mostly help the negotiation better for the player.The hornet give extension 68 million for three years knowing that he is going to be paid maximum by any team.No team will decide to exploit a player if it is clearly seen by all teams that the player is too good for the team.

Posted by: gtefferra | March 19, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

What are you talking about? He's under contract for 2 more seasons after this one.

Posted by: divi3

Blatche's contract can be renegotiated after this season. If he feels underpaid now, I don't think he's going to want to wait two years for a salary increase, and players usually get what they want.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 19, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Yawn

Glawrence. sorry about your spiders. more sorry about what their loss did to my bracket. Luckily I picked N Iowa, Wake, Wash, Murray St and ODU...Unfortunately I picked G-town to go to the great eight.

Posted by: Blurred | March 19, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Blatche's contract can be renegotiated after this season. If he feels underpaid now, I don't think he's going to want to wait two years for a salary increase, and players usually get what they want.

Posted by: djnnnou | March 19, 2010 3:59 PM

right, but he's obligated to play here through the duration of his deal and while he is negotiating an extension no other team can offer him anything.

Could very well workout in the best interests of both parties. He can get PAID for reals next year rather than wait til the end of 2012 season, and the Wizards can lock him up for potentially less than if he was an FA

Posted by: divi3 | March 19, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Also loved the MJ article. My fave paragraph:

"In Washington we put together a five year plan that included clearing huge salaries off the books to create cap flexibility, and building a roster that would become a playoff contender. In just three years, we went from almost $22 million over the cap to more than $8 million under, and traded veterans with big contracts for young talent. In year five, with a roster made up mostly of guys we brought in, they made the playoffs. "

I give him total credit for being able to unload Juwan's contract. He did trade for Haywood and picked up Etan as part of the Juwan deal, as well as signing Hughes. But he sort of fails to mention the part where EG picked up Gilbert and traded for AJ in year 4, which was a more important catalyst for getting into the playoffs. Nice revisionist history Mike.

Posted by: ts35 | March 19, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I feel your pain Blurred, I had G-Town going to the Final Four in one bracket. I was worried about them being able to beat Ohio St...never occurred to me to worry about Ohio.

Posted by: ts35 | March 19, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

While we're ripping AB for saying he's underpaid, let's take notice MJ just said he never had the "financial commitment" to be fully involved (as a GM/Exec one would assume).

Thankfully he still wasnt paying attention when he passed up a chance to grab AB at the deadline!

Posted by: divi3 | March 19, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I bet if we asked everyone to say how they fared in their pools, most people would say they did OK.

Larry would say he picked UNC and they didn't "loose," so he feels like he won.

Kalo would say he doesn't play such silly games.

DCMann would claim he got them all correct.

BF78 would say that he didn't win the
championship and that is all that matters but that it was Abe Pollin's fault.

I bet Gteferra would actually have the best score.

And then kalo would come back and say the stats don't tell the whole story anyway.

Posted by: Blurred | March 19, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Blatche is doing and saying qhat he is supposed to do. He has proven that he is a top line player and if the Wiz were smart they would lock this kid up long term. The fact that he has not produced heretofore is more evidence of inpt mamnagemnet and the veteran merirocracy that has plagued this franchise over the past two years. The current record is more relfective of a horrible backcourt (Mike Miller and Foye) and the loss of a good player in Howard.

Lastly, who in this draft would you trade him for. This is one of the weakest drafts in recent memory with the exception of Favors and maybe Wall.

Posted by: NewManagement | March 19, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

nick young; only need playing time, and a coach like J.R. SMITH have and NICK YOUNG, game is way better then J.R. SMITH. THANK YOU.

Posted by: maejude | March 19, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

@ Blurred
Re: The March 19, 2010 4:33 PM Comments.
Now that was hilarious...

Posted by: bozomoeman | March 19, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

@Blurred,

Funny. You know I wasn't going to do a bracket since my Heels are out, but I succumbed to the MM Fever.

These matchups are the worst in a while by the Committee. I will not be surprised if Wake knocks Kentucky out, though I picked Kentucky.

This is the first year that I can remember not having at least two or more ACC teams in the final eight.

I picked Kansas to win it all. I just had to have some Carolina flavor somehow. You know that Roy coached Kansas to a NCAA Ring.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 19, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

"Blatche's contract can be renegotiated after this season. If he feels underpaid now, I don't think he's going to want to wait two years for a salary increase, and players usually get what they want."

Really? When was the last time an NBA player had his contract ripped up with two more guaranteed years left so management could give him more money?

There's not a chance in Hell Blatche's contract gets renegotiated.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 20, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

MICHAEL LEE; you have 16 more games left, to write about nick young, after this season is over; then you will have to find some one els to write about.Oh why don't you write about the other 11 bum's on the team, because NICK YOUNG IS A GREAT PLAYER the only thing that nick young did wrong was to come to the wash up twister wizards, and to read bad comment that you write. Go drink your ink.

Posted by: maejude | March 20, 2010 1:54 AM | Report abuse

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