NBA free-agent watch: DeJuan Blair

NBA free-agent watch: DeJuan Blair
June 15, 2014, 12:00 pm
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Beyond Nene, the Wizards do not have any power forwards or centers under contract for next season. If they allow restricted free agents Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin to leave, the need for young big bodies increases dramatically. Adding Drew Gooden became a huge move for Washington's playoff push, but let's remember the team desperately needed him once Nene went down because of depth issues and minimal scoring off the bench.

The Wizards might hope to address any interior concerns with their second round pick. For a team now thinking of more than just another run to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, that's not enough. Even if center Marcin Gortat indeed sticks around on a long-term deal, Washington could and perhaps should be looking to add more up front.

Free agent: PF DeJuan Blair, Dallas Mavericks. Unrestricted. 

2013-14 salary: $941,000.

Vitals: 6'7", 265 pounds. 25 years old. 

Career averages: 7.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 52.9% FG, 61.2% FT. Last season: 6.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 53.4% FG, 63.6% FT. 

The fit: The Wizard fan base has danced this dance before ever since Washington passed on the former University of Pittsburgh star in the second round of the 2009 draft. Blair's stock slid that year due to knee concerns - he has no ACLs - and the fear of a shortened career. Five years in, the aggressive forward played 78 games in his first season with the Mavericks after playing his way out of San Antonio. Though undersized, Blair can play center, more than holds his own on the boards and provides energy when he steps on the court. He averaged 6.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and a team-high 2.0 steals in Dallas' seven-game playoff series loss to the Spurs. He did all that in only 13.5 minutes per game.

Chances of becoming a Wizard: From Washington's end, contemplating Blair starts with deciding what to do with Booker. Both are undersized power forwards who have energy for days, but are limited offensively. Booker proved his worth when Nene missed time last season including during the playoffs, but his next year's salary could be worth more than expected. There are concerns with Blair - again, the Spurs let him walk and he was suspended one game in the playoffs for kicking Tiago Splitter in the head. When his own head is screwed on right, he's an interior force who is young, pounds the glass and makes hustle plays. Washington can also offer extra minutes when Nene inevitably misses 20 games next season. Perhaps the real question is how much money Dallas owner Mark Cuban will offer this summer. Based on Blair's postseason performance, perhaps enough to keep him truly off the market.

Update - Should mention that Blair's agent, Dan Fegan, also represents John Wall, Martell Webster, Nene, Drew Gooden and Al Harrington. That's 1/5 of Washington's roster last season.

NBA Free Agent profiles

Guards: D.J. Augustin, Patty Mills

Wings: P.J.Tucker

 Bigs: Boris Diaw, Pau Gasol