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The math in Andray Blatche's future


What are the chances the Nets hang on to Andray Blatche? As they say, it's complicated. Word that Bojan Bogdanovic will probably command the mini-MLE means the Nets options are limited. On the other hand, Blatche has said all the right things and thanks to the generosity of the Washington Wizards ownership, Blatche still has amnesty payments of $16.2 million to fall back on the next two years.

Here's a primer. We've reported on the issue before but now Blatche's contract situation is in the news again, we've updated it a bit.

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 without bids and signed by a new team. That is not the case, league sources tell NetsDaily. In fact, the formula is more complicated and Blatche made 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, was 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. But the increase is not dollar for dollar either. Blatche would not make $3.2 million on top of his amnesty payment from the Wizards.

Under the formula, laid out in the new collective bargaining agreement, the key is the "offset" amount, the reduction that an amnestied player's old team gets when he signs with a new team. As noted, 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 worked 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 full mini mid level, which is $3,183,000 next year. Here's those numbers...

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 only $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.

Also, the Nets will have Blatche's Early Bird Rights next summer, giving them the right to sign him to a four-year $24.8 million deal, taking him to age 31.

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 giving Bogdanovic something other than a rookie minimum deal so he can contribute to his buyout.

Of course, all of that assumes Blatche wants to stay and he is well aware of the math, how the more he makes, the less the Wizards have to pay. In March, he told Stefan Bondy, "If I get a lot (in my next contract), yeah, it’s going to take pressure off the Wizards," he said. "But that’s why I’m not going to do that."

After the playoffs ended, Blatche again said he wants to return, expressing his gratitude for the second chance the Nets gave him. He noted money would not be the big issue. Minutes -- perhaps at power forward, he said, and the new coach would be more important.