DeJuan Blair was a regular in the Spurs rotation last season, averaging 21.3 minutes per contest and starting 62 of 64 games. However, once the Spurs reached the postseason, the forward’s minutes greatly diminished. Blair saw just 7.6 minutes per contest in the Spurs’ ten playoff games and as Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News wrote, he was less-than-thrilled with his reduced playing time.
“I love the Spurs, but they’ve got a lot of ‘bigs,’ and they’re bringing somebody else from overseas, so where am I going to fall at?” Blair said in July. “I was out of the rotation at the end of the season, so imagine next year…. That’s something I really don’t want to go through again, because it tore me down.“
Blair really appeared to be on the outs in San Antonio as Erazem Lorbek was widely rumored to be making the jump to the NBA, but the center wound up re-signing with Spanish club Regal Barcelona. While the 6’11″ Slovenian won’t be in the states to take minutes away from Blair, offseason acquistion Boris Diaw should see a good amount of time after inking a two-year, $9MM deal. Matt Bonner will also return in 2012/13 after averaging more than 20 minutes per contest across the last two seasons.
For now, Blair still figures to be a key part of the Spurs’ rotation to open the season. What remains to be seen is if he’ll continue to get major minutes as the season wears on and if he’ll also see the same kind of burn in the postseason. If Blair is not seeing significant time to start the season, the forward will very likely look to force the trade issue again. The former Pitt start will earn just a shade over $1MM in his final year under contract and could be extremely attractive to a team looking to pick up a cheap – and highly motivated – rebounder off the bench.