Free Agency Update: Is Andray Blatche an Option for the Miami Heat?

The Miami Heat have two roster spots open and only minimum salaries to offer; you would expect the field to fill those spots isn’t going to be worthwhile.

However, that hasn’t been the case. There are several names out there that have proven to be significant role players in their careers, including current free agent and former Washington Wizard Andray Blatche. The 6’11″, 235-pound forward has basically been ignored for the majority of the offseason and has reportedly heard little to no interest from any organization, including the Wizards team he spent seven years with.

Dec 18, 2010; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards power forward Andray Blatche (7) celebrates a play with head coach Flip Saunders against the Miami Heat during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

That may have changed. ESPN’s Marc Stein tweeted that the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have shown exploratory interest in Blatche. Both would serve good homes to Blatche with the Spurs looking for an option outside of DeJuan Blair and the Heat always being in need of someone who could take up time at the four or five positions. The Spurs have the advantage in terms of expenditure, but the Heat have the advantage of being the 2012 NBA champions.

Pat Riley has announced that he thinks the team’s small-ball is their new identity, which also explains why he said he believes the team can persist without a center.

Still, there is always need for size. Although LeBron James showed how well he could replace Chris Bosh in rebounding, it’s asking too much from James when he should be focusing on other areas. Outside of Bosh and Udonis Haslem, the Heat don’t have too many reliable rebounders: Joel Anthony is more famed for his defense than his rebounding and Dexter Pittman can’t seem to stay out of foul trouble.

And Eddy Curry couldn’t even get playing time. It just goes to show how thin the Heat are in a department that may come back to hurt them. It may be a little too early to be thinking of June already, but playing against the Los Angeles Lakers with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum would pose a problem.

I’m not trying to say that Blatche is capable of stopping either of those players. It just helps to have size that you can actually depend on, instead of treating the position like a carousel.

Andray Blatche is two years removed from having the best year of his career, when he averaged 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per. It was the third consecutive season where he averaged at least ten points and it appeared as if he finally broke out. Unfortunately, his 2011-’12 season was abysmal and he was only featured in 26 games.

It got so sad to the point where Wizard fans began booing Blatche. Turns out the Washington faithful doesn’t respond well to 8.5 points on 38 percent shooting and 5.8 rebounds from a player who was set to make $23 million over the next three years. The Wizards organization agreed, thus leading to the utilizing of the amnesty clause.

Plain and simple, Blatche is extremely immature and that should represent a huge turn-off to the Heat. This team is about staying low-key and not drawing any controversy. All Andray Blatche did for the Wizards in his final season was draw outside criticism from those who couldn’t conceive the idea of an underachiever making as much as he was. It only took one poor season for the Wizards to realize they made a mistake.

The Heat could stand to take a chance. They’re filled up on guards and small forwards, and they’re not showing much interest in anyone. In fact, this rumor about Blatche is one of the first free agent rumors we’ve heard surrounding the Heat since the speculation surrounding Darko Milicic.

Blatche certainly doesn’t fit in with the business-like approach of this team, but championship dreams change people. Knowing that a championship is within grasp can motivate certain players, which is why you saw Boris Diaw last year go from getting cut by the Charlotte Bobcats to starting with a San Antonio Spurs team that came two games away from an NBA Finals.

You probably wouldn’t see Blatche used come playoff time, unless the Heat are playing against a large team like Indiana. He doesn’t fit into the Heat’s frantic defense and is hardly the athlete that could play alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The most the Heat can hope out of Blatche is that he would provide a body down low and some scoring off the bench, although it seems insignificant to what Rashard Lewis could provide in the same role.

Blatche can perform on offense. He’s only two years removed from averaging nearly 17 points per. He has a solid jumper and good footwork around the rim, but he becomes far too reliant on his jumpers, which is something the Heat do not want to see.

However, for the minimum and the fact that he’s only 25-years-old, it may be worth a shot. It’s another low-risk, high-reward situation; Blatche would only be used for size and if it doesn’t work out, the Heat are in the same situation they were in before with another large body sitting at the end of the bench.

 

 

Topics: Andray Blatche, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Free Agent, Lebron James, Miami Heat, Pat Riley

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