Mavs sign DeJuan Blair on the cheap

Mavs sign DeJuan Blair on the cheap
July 30, 2013, 11:30 am
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Updated 5:07 p.m.

At least in the eyes of Wizards fans, DeJuan Blair has been linked to the team since the 2009 NBA Draft. Washington passed on the power-packed forward then and apparently missed out on the free agent in 2013.

The 6-foot-7 Blair, who spent his first four years with San Antonio, signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday for reportedly the veteran minimum. Blair announced the deal on Twitter.

CSNwashington insider J. Michael learned that the Wizards held extensive talks with Blair's reps this month, but the two sides could not ultimately work out a deal.

A report surfaced Tuesday morning that Blair and the Mavericks were in "serious talks", according to ESPN's Marc Stein. San Antonio is not expected to match any contracts signed by the restricted free agent.

Earlier this month, a report surfaced about a potential sign-and-trade deal between the Wizards and Spurs for Blair. There is logic in Washington adding the rather imposing rebounder with solid pick-and-roll skills who shot at least 50 percent from the floor in each of his four NBA seasons. The Wizards will need scoring options for those 20 or so games Nene misses. The current crop of reserves, namely Trevor Booker, Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely don't offer that dynamic.

However, Blair reportedly wanted a multi-year deal for something more than the veteran's minimum, which is all the Wizards' salary cap situation would allow them to do. Going the sign-and-trade route would allow for a larger contract. Apparently the money issue no longer stood in the way.

Perhaps the bigger reason why Blair chose Dallas over Washington, assuming the Wizards were truly in the mix, is playing time.

Until Washington parts ways with one of those young forwards, the rotation is jammed for anything other than a stretch-four type of big man. Meanwhile, after missing out on Dwight Howard and other hyped free agents, the Mavericks are retooling their own frontcourt in the hopes of a sincere title push. Blair wouldn't be handed a prominent role, but perhaps a clearer path for minutes.

Even though Blair had a rough season in 2012-13, falling out of the Spurs primary rotation, he could have made an impact in Washington. However, unless the Wizards freed up roster or cap space, there was just no room at the inn. Apparently Dallas left the light on for him.