Andray Blatche, who opted out of his contract with the Nets in July and then couldn't find another NBA team, is headed to the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, who play in western China. The news was first reported by a Chinese website early Saturday. A league source confirmed the news to NetsDaily Saturday morning, saying "it's a done deal." Blatche will reportedly make $2.5 million --after taxes-- in China.
Later, Andy Miller, Blatche's agent, tweeted out confirmation...
Official: @drayblatche has signed a 1 year deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers.— ASM SPORTS (@ASM_SPORTS) September 20, 2014
The Flying Tigers made the CBA finals last year and the club feels Andray is the final piece to a championship contender.— ASM SPORTS (@ASM_SPORTS) September 20, 2014
Andray is extremely excited to be joining a 1st-class club & looks forward to building relationships throughout the Pacific Rim.— ASM SPORTS (@ASM_SPORTS) September 20, 2014
Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that Blatche will earn a net of $2.5 million and be eligible to return to the NBA next March, at the conclusion of the Chinese Basketball Association season.
Free agent center Andray Blatche's deal in China will pay him nearly $2.5M net, source tells Yahoo. He can rejoin the NBA in March.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) September 20, 2014
Blatche, who has a reputation for poor conditioning and partying, was not pursued by the Nets after he hit free agency and despite a number of rumors suggesting he was being looked at the Pelicans, Heat and Clippers but no NBA offer ever materialized, even at the vets minimum level. After his stellar play for the Philippines in the FIBA World Cup, there was speculation he might get new interest. Blatche averaged 21.2 points, second in the World Cup, and 13.8 rebounds, tops in the competition. Blatche became a Philippines citizen so he could play in the World Cup.
The Nets signed Blatche two years ago, after the Wizards amnestied him with three years left on his contract. No other team expressed interest in him but Billy King and Avery Johnson agreed to give him a non-guaranteed vets minimum deal that was supplemented by his amnesty payments. He proved to be worth it, averaging better than 10 points and five rebounds in his two seasons, becoming a fan favorite along the way.
But both seasons were marked by controversy. The night after his contract became fully guaranteed in January 2013, a woman claimed friends of his had sexually assaulted her in Blatche's hotel suite in Philadephia. Blatche was not charged and the woman said Blatche had not participated in the alleged assault.
Then in December, Blatche was given a "personal leave" by the Nets after he failed to improve his conditioning and curtail his partying, say league sources who described the "leave" as more or less a suspension with pay. That was the Nets last straw. One league source told NetsDaily that the Nets decided then not to pursue him if he became a free agent.
Last season, In addition to the league's most popular player, Stephon Marbury, the top NBA imports included Earl Barron, Bobby Brown, Donte Greene, Hamed Haddadi, Ivan Johnson, Darius Johnson-Odom, Johan Petro, Shavlik Randolph, Josh Selby, Sebastian Telfair, Von Wafer, Delonte West and Shelden Williams, according to Bleacher Report.
The Flying Tigers signed Jordan Crawford earlier this week. Long a Chinese powerhouse, Xinjiang had been interested in the Spurs' Aron Baynes.
- Xinjiang Flying Tigers close to sign Andray Blatche - Sportando
- Andray Blatche may sign at Xinjiang Flying Tigers - Asia Basket
- Agent: Andray Blatche to China - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Reports: Andray Blatche signs contract to play in China - James Herbert - CBS Sports
Former Net Andray Blatche inks one-year deal to play in China, according to agent - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Andray Blatche Signs In China - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
- Emptying The Archives: The Best Of Andray Blatche, The Human GIF - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
Dream Team: Two ex-Wizards reuniting abroad - Comcast Sports Net