GILAS Pilipinas team manager Aboy Castro has allayed fears that naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche won’t be able to join the team in its training camp in Miami as the big man looks for a new team in NBA free agency.
The Philippine national basketball team is set to leave on Friday for its training camp in Miami, where Blatche is expected to join his Gilas teammates in trainng for the first time before its campaign in the Fiba World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
The 6-11 Blatche, however, remains unsigned by any NBA team after opting out of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets last July 1.
Castro assured Blatche, who averaged modest numbers of 11.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists with the Nets last season, is under contract with Gilas until after the Asiad in October and is expected to join the team in its buildup for the Fiba World Cup that opens on August 30.
“Yes, he’s contracted till the Asian Games, but we know he’s been looking for a team since July 1 when the free agency started,” Castro told Spin.ph.
Several teams were said to be interested in acquiring Blatche, among them the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and Toronto Raptors, but no deal has been made so far.
But Blatche’s free agent status is not expected to affect Gilas’ preparations, according to Castro, who noted they expect a serious workout with Blatche when they meet up in Miami.
The team is hoping the nine-year NBA veteran would easily fit into coach Chot Reyes’ dribble-drive offense and be a big boost to the national team.
The 28-year-old Syracuse, New York-born Blatche became a citizen of the Philippines on June 11 when President Aquino signed Republic Act 10636.