The Washington Wizards have a very bright future ahead of them, with star point-guard John Wall looking to lead the team back to contender status. Despite a dismal record of just 23 wins and 59 losses, the year showed a number of bright spots for the Wizards. The arrival of a franchise player in Wall, the emergence of JaVale McGee and Nick Young and the drafting of Jan Vesely all give Wizards fans reason to believe.
However, there were also some problems in the Wizards organization that clearly need fixing. One of those problems is named Andray Blatche.
Now, Blatche is undoubtedly a solid player, and he had the best season of his career this past year, averaging 16.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. But despite these impressive numbers, Blatche is simply not what the Wizards need at the power forward position looking forward.
Blatche showed an ability to score and rebound at a good clip last season, but his numbers become less striking when you consider the fact that he played on a bad team and shot under 45 percent from the field. Furthermore, Blatche has shown some immaturity issues and a sometimes strained relationship with certain teammates, to say the least.
Back in December, Blatche reportedly engaged in a bar fight with McGee, causing both players to be suspended for one game and shaking up the Wizards organization quite a bit. Ideally, the two big men starting for a team would have a bit more chemistry than that. The duo of Blatche and McGee clearly is not the future for the Wizards, and with Blatche having far less potential than McGee, it would only be logical to trade Blatche.
The following trades could potentially solve the Blatche problem, and have been formulated using ESPN's NBA Trade Machine.
Wizards receive: Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick, 2012 second-round pick (via NY Knicks)
Suns receive: Andray Blatche
Just a short while ago, Robin Lopez was thought to be the future at center for the Phoenix Suns. However, with the arrival of Marcin Gortat and Lopez's relatively disappointing start to his career, the Suns appear more than ready to move past the lesser Lopez twin.
Despite his shortcomings, Lopez still has a great value, as he is a legitimate seven-footer who still has plenty of time to develop. He would reinforce the center position for the Wizards and could even play alongside McGee at times. Warrick would also be a great acquisition, as he would be able to put up similar scoring figures to Blatche on the Wizards and would make an already extremely athletic team even more stocked with high-flyers.
The Suns, meanwhile, have not exactly been known to hold onto their draft picks, and would likely jump at the chance to get an upgrade at power forward in exchange for two solid bench players and a second-round pick in a strong draft.
(Credit for this trade idea goes to Ryan Crandall).
Wizards receive: Andrea Bargnani
Raptors receive: Andray Blatche, 2013 first-round pick
The Toronto Raptors are another team currently involved in a rebuilding process who may not be satisfied with their current situation in the post. Andrea Bargnani, who the team drafted with the 1st overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, has failed to live up to the hype that earned him the number one selection in a draft that brought the likes of Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rajon Rondo into the league. Although Bargnani has put up solid scoring numbers, averaging 21.4 PPG last season, he has failed to contribute in any other way than that. Despite his seven-foot frame, Bargnani averaged only 5.2 RPG and 0.7 BPG during his most recent campaign, during which he was considered the star of the team.
Bargnani also insinuated in an interview that he would prefer to play on a team based in a warmer climate and where he would not be asked to play outside of his role. Based on his statistics, it seems Bargnani feels his role is to score as much as he possibly can while resting up on defense and leaving rebounding to someone else.
Bargnani's limitations make him a terrible fit at center for the Raptors, and he is more suited for the power forward position, where Ed Davis looks to be the future for the Raptors. Toronto needs a big man who can both score and rebound to hold together the middle while Davis develops and until draft-pick Jonas Valunciunas, who was an absolute beast in leading his team to victory in the U-19 World Championships, is able to join the team for the 2012-13 season.
Andray Blatche played power forward for the Wizards last season, but if Bargnani can play center, so can he. Blatche averaged three more rebounds per game than Bargnani and stands at 6'11" while weighing 260 pounds. Blatche would give the Raptors a reliable big man to replace Bargnani while the young guys develop, and could even become part of the Raptors' future, as he is only 24-years-old.
The Wizards would get a great compliment for JaVale McGee and another passing option for John Wall. Bargnani could play the power forward position and focus on rebounding while McGee did the dirty work inside. If allowed to focus on what he does best, Bargnani could finally meet his potential.
Wizards receive: Tyrus Thomas
Bobcats receive: Andray Blatche, 2012 second-round pick
Similarly to how Blatche is not the right fit on the Washington Wizards, Tyrus Thomas has yet to find his niche in the league. Currently a member of the Charlotte Bobcats, Thomas' attitude and a recent minor knee injury confined him to a bench role throughout the season. Despite playing behind Boris Diaw last season, Thomas managed to average 10.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 1.6 BPG in just 21 minutes per game. In 33.9 minutes per game, the amount that Blatche averaged on the Wizards last year, Thomas' stats improve to 16.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG and 2.6 BPG (compared to Blatche's 16.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 0.8 BPG). Thomas is a superior defender and athlete and could be a better fit for the Wizards than Blatche.
Although Thomas' all around stats are more impressive than Blatche's, Blatche is still undoubtedly the better offensive player, and after recently trading away both Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson, the Bobcats look to be rather deficient on the offensive end next year. Blatche would give the Bobcats a go-to scorer in the post, and along with Corey Maggette and D.J. Augustin, help to carry the Bobcats while rookies Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo develop.
Wizards receive: Tiago Splitter, Antonio McDyess
Spurs receive: Andray Blatche, 2013 first-round pick (top five protected)
This trade would allow the San Antonio Spurs to make one final shot at a championship before the Tim Duncan-Manu Ginobili-Tony Parker era officially ends. Arguably the most successful big-three of the last decade, Duncan, Ginobili and Parker are rapidly slipping out of their primes and need an infusion of youth. Duncan's minutes and scoring numbers have dropped as he has become a less important part of the Spurs offense, and Greg Popovich could use another big man to score in the post and ease some of the burden on Duncan.
The Spurs started the 6'7" DeJuan Blair at center for the majority of last season, so replacing him with the 6'11" Blatche would give the Spurs one of the biggest post tandems in the league. The Spurs are very high on Splitter and may see him as part of the future of the organization, but Blatche's numbers were superior per 36 minutes.
Furthermore, although Splitter is coming off his rookie season while Blatche just finished his sixth, Splitter is almost two-years older than Blatche, so neither can definitely be pegged as having more potential than the other. The Spurs would not only get a young big-man to pair with and potentially replace Tim Duncan, but they would also get likely get a lottery pick in the 2013 draft. And considering the Spurs' draft history, chances are they could use it to find an outstanding foreign player who will turn into a star.
The Wizards would get a veteran presence in McDyess, although he would most likely retire if sent to the rebuilding squad and instead provide some cap relief to go along with their new power forward of the future in Splitter. Splitter is an excellent post scorer and rebounder who could be a nice pick-and-roll partner for John Wall. In the number of minutes Blatche received last season (33.9 per game), Splitter's averages improve to 12.6 PPG and 9.3 RPG. Furthermore, Splitter shot a much higher percentage from the field than Blatche (53 percent compared to Blatche's 45 percent).
Wizards receive: Brandon Bass, Quentin Richardson
Magic receive: Andray Blatche
The Orlando Magic desperately need to bring some new talent to their roster if they are to have any hope of convincing Dwight Howard to stay in Orlando upon becoming a free-agent in the summer of 2012. One step to accomplishing that feat would be to find a better fit at the power forward position. Brandon Bass started at power forward for the Magic for the majority of last season, but his lack of an outside game made him a bad fit on the Magic. Blatche, who has developed an excellent mid-ranged game and an improving three-point shot, could join Howard to give the Magic one of the best frontcourts in the league.
Although Bass was a poor fit on the Magic, he is undoubtedly a solid player capable of putting up excellent numbers. In Blatche's minutes, Bass averaged 15.5 PPG and 7.2 RPG, which seem like inferior numbers but may not be when you consider that Bass played alongside Howard last season, which likely stunted his rebounding numbers. Furthermore, Bass took only 11.7 shots per 36 minutes, while Blatche attempted 15.9 shots in that same amount of time.
Bass could be just as effective on the Wizards as Blatche without bringing the off-court troubles and sometimes disgusting selfishness that Blatche displayed last season. To get an idea of this me-first attitude, just watch this clip. Meanwhile, Quentin Richardson would give the Wizards another veteran presence and some depth on the wings.