By Stefan Bondy / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 6:32 PM
Andray Blatche has the greatest of expectations for himself and the Nets. But that's only for this season.
In an interview with the Daily News, the Nets center said he'd like to re-sign as a free agent next summer but understandably couldn't commit to anything so early in the season.
So when will he discuss free agency?
"Talk to me after the playoffs," he said. "I mean, after we win the championship."
Blatche, who will be an unrestricted free agent in July (assuming the Nets guarantee his contract before the Jan. 10 deadline), is in a unique situation. The 26-year-old, who cannot sign an extension under the CBA rules, is getting paid about $23 million by the Wizards over three seasons because he was waived last summer via the amnesty clause.
Whatever figure he earns in the first two years of his next contract will go to Washington, unless it exceeds the nearly $8 million per year he got from the Wizards (very unlikely scenario). Blatche has publicly derided the Wizards for how they handled him during his final season, so saving owner Ted Leonsis money probably isn't a priority.
Blatche's high production has been an unexpected bonus this season. He's averaging 10.6 points and 6.1 rebounds in 17 games, demonstrating that motivation and fitness can rejuvenate a sagging body and career. The Nets (11-6), losers of two straight going into Friday's game against the Warriors, will continue to start Blatche at center with Brook Lopez sidelined because of a foot sprain.
Lopez, who has missed three games and counting, was spotted limping around the Barclays Center before Tuesday's loss to the Thunder, with a walking boot resting beside his locker. He's unlikely to play Friday or next week.
But the Nets have Blatche, an upgrade over last season's center backups — all of whom are either retired, out of the league or unable to get off the inactive list.
"There's no reason not to want to come back," he said.