May 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) and Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche (0) both react to a call during the first half in game one of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Andray Blatche officially declines player option with Brooklyn Nets; becomes free agent

Since the Brooklyn Nets were unceremoniously eliminated from the 2014 NBA Playoffs by the Miami Heat, Nets big man Andray Blatche has been considered a near lock to decline his $1.43 million player option for the 2014-2015 season in favor of becoming a free agent. On Friday, that “near lock” has changed to an official declination.

By all accounts, the 27-year-old Blatche is in for a large increase in pay on his next contract, and that alone makes this decision a sound one. The 6-foot-11 big man averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 73 regular season appearances with the Nets this season, and while that production dipped to 6.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest in the playoffs, it was mostly due to a drastic decrease in playing time.

Andray Blatche has been under an incredibly unique scenario in that he was the amnesty selection of the Washington Wizards, allowing him to be paid a minuscule amount by the Nets in comparison to his value. That alone made declining his option a no-brainer, and it will be interesting to see what type of money that he can command on the free agent market, especially with teams like the New Orleans Pelicans having reported interest.

Blatche is a player with a rare blend of size, athleticism and skill, and if he can keep his head on straight (as he displayed, for the most part, in Brooklyn), his next team will receive a productive and efficient player.

Tags: Andray Blatche Brooklyn Nets New Orleans Pelicans Washington Wizards