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The Present ... and Future of Andray Blatche

Jared Wickerham

Andray Blatche is playing well. Filling in for Brook Lopez, he's averaged 17 points and 8.5 rebounds, shooting 14 for 24 in the two games. His per 36 minutes stats (so far) are better than in any of his previous seven seasons in Washington. What are the chances the Nets hang on to him?

As they say, it's complicated.

First of all, Blatche and others in his situation are making more than reported on salary websites, the result of a complicated NBA formula that somewhat penalizes teams that amnesty players while at the same time providing more money to the players themselves.

Some reporting has suggested a straight dollar-for-dollar "offset" for players amnestied and signed by a new team. That is not the case, league sources tell NetsDaily. In fact, the formula is more complicated and Blatche makes nearly $1 million more than what he would have made from amnesty payments alone ... and the Wizards don't get a dollar-for-dollar offset. His total salary, according to one of the sources, is actually $8.1 million this season, rather than the $7.1 million owed him in amnesty payments. Also, the difference will likely rise in the final two years of the contract, under the formula.

The formula, provided NetsDaily by a league source, also would seem to give an advantage to a team offering Blatche the mini-MLE or more this summer, when Blatche becomes an unrestricted free agent. All this becomes increasingly important as Blatche continues to play well and increases his value.

Under the formula, laid out in the new collective bargaining agreement, the key is the "offset" amount, the reduction that a player's old team gets when he signs with a new team. It is not straight dollar-for-dollar. Instead, it is equal to one half the difference between the player's salary with his new team and the minimum for a one-year veteran player. Vets minimum numbers depend on a player's time in the league, the more years, the higher the minimum. So the formula at its most basic is (new salary - vet minimum for 1 yr player) / 2 = set off amount + new salary = total player salary.

So in 2012-13, Andray Blatche's numbers work out like this:

Offset Amount ($1,146,337- $762,195) / 2 = $192,971
Washington Pays $7,118,502 - 192,071= $6,926,431
Brooklyn Pays $1,146,337
Total Salary $6,926,431 + $1,146,337 = $8,072,768
Blatche makes $954,266 more than his original contract with Washington

In 2013-2014, Blatche can sign with Brooklyn for 120% of this year's vets minimum salary. That's the most the Nets could give him without using the mini-MLE exception. So in 2013-14, the new numbers would work like this:

Minimum contract x 120% ($1,146,337 x 120%) = $1,375,604
Offset Amount ($1,375,604 - $788,195) / 2 = $293,704 (slightly higher one-year veteran minimum used for 13-14)
Washington Pays $ 7,794,921 - $293,704 = $7,501,216
Brooklyn Pays $1,375,604
Total Salary $7,501,216 + 1,375,604 = $ 8,876,820
Blatche makes $1,081,899 more than his original contract with Washington

But let's say Blatche signs with the Nets or another team at the mini mid level, which is $3,183,000 next year.
Offset Amount ($3,183,000 - 788,195) = $1,197,402
Washington Pays $7,794,921 - 1,197,402 = $6,597,519
Other team pays $3,183,000
Total Salary $9,780,519
Blatche makes $1,985,598 more than his original contract with Washington

So, Blatche would make $8,876,820 with 120% of the minimum, but $903,699 more by taking the mini mid level. Of course if the mini-MLE is three years, starting in July 2013, it would give him an extra year of security. The down side for him and his agent, Andy Miller, is that the third year of that deal, 2015-16, would pay him a little more than $3 million. The amnesty payments end in June 2015. Blatche will be 28.

What's the bottom line for the Nets? If would be best if Blatche takes the 120 percent of the vets minimum next season and then negotiates a new deal with them in 2014, when they would have his Bird Rights. That would free up the mini-MLE for other purposes, like retaining C.J. Watson or giving Bojan Bogdanovic something other than a rookie minimum deal. Of course, all of that assumes Blatche is still playing well. Never a guarantee.

And yes, the same applies to Josh Childress, who is making more that what he gets from the Suns.