Last season marked a pretty significant drop in the production and playing for DeJuan Blair with the San Antonio Spurs, leading to the team to forego the option of retaining him. The Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards are very interested, but there seems to be a pretty big gulf between the sides.
Blair, a four year veteran, saw his minutes fall to 14 per game from around 21 last season, and his scoring average to 5.4 points per game from the 9.3 he averaged last season. He became a garbage time player in the playoffs, as the Spurs kept their big man rotation with Duncan, Splitter, Matt Bonner and Boris Diaw.
The 6’7 big man makes up for his lack of height and spring with incredible strength, hustle and a very strong low post presence, but obviously, there are limitation to what a team can expect to get out of him. And yet Blair is allowing himself to be quite picky, not wanting to sign with any team that doesn’t offer him a multi-year deal, or be signed through a sign-and-trade, which helps him keep his Bird rights, but no one is willing to give up a piece in order to add Blair.
The Washington Wizards seemed very close to securing a deal for him, but that fell through. They’re still interested, but Blair is holding out for something more than a one-year deal at the moment, but he’ll probably have to change his approach in order to secure a contract for next season.
All three teams could need another big man who can play in both frontcourt positions, with the Bulls going after Marcus Camby as well, and probably waiting on him before moving a bit more aggressively on Blair. However, Blair is good enough of a player to remain in the NBA, and will eventually understand that he’ll need a strong season on a one-year deal in 2013-2014 in order to get that multiyear deal he’s looking for as he enters his fifth NBA season.