DeJuan Blair has entered contract talks with the Dallas Mavericks, looking for an intra-state switch after spending the first four years of his career with the San Antonio Spurs. The talks are "serious" and "look promising," according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Blair, a squat 6'7, 265-pound center, could be a nice addition for the Mavs. He's always been an above-average rebounder due to his ability to use his bulk to box out, but Gregg Popovich had found more serviceable options than the 24-year-old out of Pitt.
And Dallas needs a big: it struck out on Dwight Howard, then couldn't lure Andrew Bynum to come to the team. That leaves its center spot occupied by Samuel Dalembert and Brandan Wright. ADVANCED BASKETBALL ANALYSIS: yikes! And with Dirk Nowitzki at power forward, it needs all the help it can get.
Blair seemed like a steal early in his career. A force in college, Blair guided his Pitt team to the Elite Eight before leaving school after his sophomore season. But his build scared off NBA teams, as did his lack of ACL's, the result of several knee surgeries in high school He fell all the way to the second round, but was clearly a productive player for the Spurs, averaging 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in under 20 minutes a game as a rookie.
But he fell out of the Spurs' rotation. His numbers rose to the point he averaged 9.5 points a game in his third year in the league, but this past season, he was replaced in the rotation. His main foil was Tiago Splitter, with Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner playing minutes due to their adept passing and shooting skills for big men. While both played ample minutes throughout the playoffs, Blair averaged 6:22 minutes of court time and only appeared in 12 games, logging under 16 minutes in the seven-game NBA Finals.