THE DEJUAN DILEMMA
Written by Trevor Zickgraf LINK
See what I did there? DeJuan Blair was the perfect pick for the San Antonio Spurs in 2009. Lottery level talent that fell in to the Spurs' lap early in the second round. You can say they should've drafted this guy or that guy, but the only guy available where the Spurs drafted that you could legitimately say the Spurs should've drafted instead was Chase Budinger.
Anyways, Blair brought energy to team that at time was old, slow, you know, all the things that people still say about the Spurs that aren't true anymore.
The problem for Blair is he hasn't developed as much as the Spurs would've liked, especially on defense. He lost a lot of his playing time, especially in the postseason, when Boris Diaw fell in to the Spurs' lap. Simultaneously Tiago Splitter continued to develop, pushing Blair farther down the big man ladder.
Now, it appears the Spurs have found another big man in Australian Aron Baynes. That can't be great news for Blair above all other bigs. Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld reports the Spurs have made Blair available again, in part to make room for Baynes. "In the past, the Spurs haven’t had any trouble finding teams interested in Blair, but they haven’t been able to find a deal worth taking. However, with Blair out of the rotation and a replacement on the way in Baynes, San Antonio may lower their asking price."
There a couple of differences between Blair's situation last June and now.
First off, Blair is a free agent after this summer, so the financial implications for whatever team trades for him.
Second, the team that Kennedy writes was most interested in Blair, the Miami Heat, have a specific problem Blair could help with. The Heat are a really bad rebounding team right now. Blair might not be the ideal size, but he can rebound, is pretty good moving in the pick and roll and is an underrated passer.
One problem is unlike last year, Miami doesn't own their own pick. They own Philadelphia's pick, but it's lottery protected for the next three years. Still, that could be something the Heat are willing to part with if they're not in love with this year's draft or they don't think Philly is going to make the playoffs. Another team that could be looking for some extra help inside is the Cleveland Cavaliers, who just lost Anderson Varejao for a couple of months and own Miami's first round pick and Orlando's second round pick among other things. Other teams with extra first round picks include the Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz. The point is, the Spurs will likely trade Blair for what will end up being a late first round pick or early second round pick.
Unless they package Blair with someone else, they're not going to get that elusive shot blocker you're all looking for. This is a time for them to stockpile assets for the future without giving up a player who is key to this season's title run. Blair's going to get moved, I'm pretty sure of it now. It's what best for him and the Spurs and I do think the Spurs want to do what's right by Blair, who's handled his inconsistent playing time this season pretty well, a few tweets not withstanding.