DeJuan Blair Rumors
April 29 at 11:34am CST By Luke Adams
History was made this morning, as Jason Collins publicly came out as the first active male athlete to announce that he's gay. Collins, who hopes to continue his playing career, will be a free agent this summer, looking for a contract from a team in need of frontcourt help. In his latest piece for HoopsWorld, Steve Kyler looked at a few other big men facing free agency, exploring what their respective futures might hold. Let's check out the highlights....
- Andray Blatche is still being paid by the Wizards through next season, so he won't necessarily be seeking the highest salary offered this summer. However, if he can secure a multiyear deal, he may lean toward that opportunity, says Kyler.
- Although he's eligible for restricted free agency, Austin Daye is unlikely to receive a qualifying offer from the Grizzlies. Kyler doesn't expect the ex-Piston to be back in Memphis next season.
- Carl Landry remains likely to opt out of his last year with the Warriors in search of a longer-term contract.
- The Pacers won't hold full Bird rights on David West, but West's Early Bird rights will be more than enough to make him a competitive offer. Kyler thinks West and the Pacers are likely to work out a deal fairly quickly that will keep the power forward in Indiana.
- Kyler notes that trading Danny Granger would help give the Pacers the flexibility to bring back both West and Tyler Hansbrough, who is eligible for restricted free agency. Kyler expects the Pacers to issue a qualifying offer to Hansbrough and match any reasonable offer.
- Antawn Jamison is unlikely to re-sign with the Lakers, and if Earl Clark returns, it will have to be for not much more than the $1.24MM he made this year, says Kyler.
- Boris Diaw, who has a player option, and Matt Bonner, whose deal is only partially guaranteed, both figure to be back with the Spurs next season. However, Kyler says DeJuan Blair is "done in San Antonio," which echoes what we heard yesterday.
April 28 at 12:54pm CST By Chuck Myron
DeJuan Blair will be thrust into the playoff spotlight for the Spurs with Tiago Splitter out indefinitely because of a sprained ankle, and Blair sees the opportunity as an audition for other clubs, observes Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News. The 24-year-old, who'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, thinks "the better situation" for him will be to sign with another team that can expand his role.
The stance is one that Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors predicted Blair would take when he examined the power forward's free agent stock last summer. Blair saw declines in just about every category this season, as his minutes and games started both hit career lows. When he did see the floor this year, he was less efficient than in the past, notching a 14.6 PER compared to the 17.5 PER he posted over his first three seasons. Blair appeared a likely trade candidate before the deadline this season, but according to Harvey, the Spurs were in no rush to trade him, in part because of his paltry $1.054MM salary. The team also believes he's shown increased maturity off the court, Harvey writes.
Unlike many other fourth-year players, the Spurs won't have the right to match offers for Blair in free agency this summer because he was originally a second-round draft choice. Second-rounders become eligible for unrestricted free agency after only three years in the league. I'm not sure the Spurs, despite their affection for Blair, would be likely to try to bring him back either way, but unrestricted free agency will allow him to make a clean break if he so chooses. He could have plenty of suitors, since the Hawks, Raptors, Pistons, Celtics, Heat, Blazers and Warriors were all linked to Blair before the deadline this year.
Blair thinks the Spurs would have traded him if they could have found the right deal, but the consensus among other teams at the deadline was that the Spurs' asking price was too high.
March 13 at 1:20pm CST By Luke Adams
Prior to the trade deadline, there weren't many players who appeared more likely to be dealt than DeJuan Blair. Blair's role with the Spurs this season had diminished, his contract was set to expire at season's end, and his modest $1.05MM salary made it palatable for the team to move him for a draft pick without taking any salary back.
The Spurs didn't end up trading Blair though, and the club turned down the 23-year-old's buyout request a week later, concerned he would join a rival playoff team. Still, while Blair remains a Spur for now, it's unlikely that the two sides will continue their relationship beyond this season.
Blair had been a regular part of the Spurs' rotation for the past few seasons, starting 127 of the team's 148 games in 2010/11 and '11/12. However, with Tiago Splitter emerging this year and Boris Diaw in the fold for a full season, Blair's minutes per game have been reduced from 21.3 to 13.4, and he's been displaced from the starting lineup. Blair's production has slipped a little as well -- after recording a PER of 17+ in each of his first three seasons, the 6'7" forward is down to 14.9 in '12/13.
Speaking to Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged that his handling of Blair, who has also played limited minutes during the team's playoff series, has probably been frustrating for a player facing unrestricted free agency.
"Think about it," Popovich said. "Not just this season, but the whole
time he’s been here, this is a guy who’s started during regular seasons,
and then I’ve sat him during playoffs. I might be wrong, I might be
right, but I was looking for certain things and made certain decisions,
and that’s tough on a player.... This is his contract year, and I’m sure he’s getting some advice
from other places that is a little bit different from the advice we’re
giving him, let’s say."
Noting that Blair has averaged 15.8 PPG and 11.8 RPG in the 24 career contests when he's played 30+ minutes, Monroe suggests that players posting those numbers "typically have six-figure salaries." Since Blair is already making seven figures, I assume Monroe actually means "eight-figure salaries."
A $10MM+ annual salary figures to be an unrealistic goal for Blair when he hits the open market this July, but he should be in line for a decent raise, despite not truly being able to showcase his value in San Antonio this year. I could see plenty of contenders having interest in adding Blair, whether it's a team like the Heat (with the taxpayer MLE) or perhaps the Warriors, as a potential Carl Landry replacement.
A lottery club with cap space, like the Bobcats, could also enter the mix. Charlotte missed out on power forward targets like Kris Humphries, Antawn Jamison, and Landry last summer, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the 'Cats outbidding rival suitors and offering a longer-term deal to a younger option who is seeking an opportunity to play more.
Within Monroe's piece, Popovich praises Blair's work ethic, noting that the big man's attitude has stayed positive whether he has been playing or sitting. However, Blair's desire for a buyout last month suggests to me that at this point in his career, playing time is his top priority. As such, when he starts talking to teams in July, I expect Blair to lean toward clubs that will give him a chance at an expanded role, even if those situations won't necessarily provide his best shot at a championship.
March 1 at 8:33pm CST By Chuck Myron
It's more than a week after the trade deadline, but the stream of rumors is far from an end. In his Weekend Dime, Marc Stein of ESPN.com puts a bow on last week's proceedings, and provides some scuttlebutt related to tonight's buyout deadline as well. Here's what Stein has to share:
- The Hawks wanted to trade Josh Smith at the deadline, and expected they'd get a deal done. But when the Bucks refused to part with Monta Ellis, Atlanta's main target, or Ersan Ilyasova, Plan B for the Hawks, GM Danny Ferry and company walked away from a package that would have featured Beno Udrih's expiring contract and Luc Mbah a Moute, who has two years and $8.97MM remaining on his deal this season.
- DeJuan Blair has been seeking a buyout from his expiring $1.054MM contract with the Spurs, but San Antonio is reluctant to grant his wish, fearing he'd sign with another playoff team. If he's not bought out before tonight's 11pm deadline, Blair would be ineligible for the postseason if he signs elsewhere this season. Stein says it's clear that neither Blair nor the Spurs wish to continue their working relationship in 2013/14, so perhaps Blair could be a buyout candidate after tonight, but that's just my speculation.
- The Spurs were seeking a first-round pick in offers for Blair at the trade deadline, but like everyone seeking that kind of return, they were rebuffed, as Stein notes the increasing value of those picks and the rookie-scale contracts that come with them.
- According to Stein, industry standard dictates that prospective owners in the midst of a pending sale may designate two or three players they wish the team to keep, freeing current management to trade anyone else on the roster. That makes it easier to understand why the Kings shed salary, including last June's No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson, at the deadline, even though we heard the Chris Hansen/Howard Ballmer group from Seattle was consulted before the move was made.
- Stein sizes up the competing chances of Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers to become the next coach of Team USA, while adding that USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo wants to wait until he hears from Mike Krzyzewski after the college season to definitely rule out the Coach K's return.
- The ESPN.com scribe also checks in with new Bucks shooting guard J.J. Redick, who felt like he was going to stay with the Magic right up until they traded him.
February 21 at 2:11pm CST By Luke Adams
The Trail Blazers were unable to work out a deadline deal involving J.J. Hickson, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (via Twitter). Hickson will remain in Portland.
The Spurs were also unable to find an acceptable offer for DeJuan Blair, who will remain with San Antonio, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter).
February 21 at 1:43pm CST By Luke Adams
The Spurs are trying "right up to the wire" to find a taker for DeJuan Blair, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News tweets that he wouldn't be shocked if San Antonio takes the best deal out there for Blair at 1:59pm.
Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News reported earlier today that the Spurs' asking price for Blair remained High, while Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld indicated this morning that the Hawks could be a suitor, particularly if they found a deal for Josh Smith.
February 21 at 12:31pm CST By Luke Adams
With so many trade rumors swirling around in the hours leading up to the deadline, we're scrambling to keep tabs on them all. Here's the latest:
- The Knicks won't make a major move, but they're exploring make a trade to clear a roster spot for an eventual free agent pickup, tweets Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com.
- Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times is fairly confident the Lakers won't make a move today (Twitter link).
- Although the Celtics continue to discuss Paul Pierce, they're seeking a big package of expiring contracts and draft picks, which is unlikely, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. The Nets are "on the outside looking in" when it comes to Pierce, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.
- TNT's David Aldridge was told unequivocally that the Rockets won't flip Thomas Robinson in a second trade. Houston "loves" Robinson, according to Aldridge (Twitter link).
- "Nothing at all" is happening on the trade front for the Pistons, reports Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, though he notes there's still some time for that to change (Twitter links).
- The Warriors and Suns are on Eric Gordon's list of desired destinations, tweets Amick. While there's a chance Gordon is moved today, a deal down the road, perhaps this summer, is more likely -- Gordon isn't even eligible to be traded to Phoenix until July.
- Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News is hearing that the consensus is the Spurs' asking price for DeJuan Blair remains too high.
February 21 at 8:17am CST By Luke Adams
With less than six hours until today's trade deadline, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld explores a few of the latest rumors in his NBA AM piece. Here are the highlights:
- Besides Jermaine O'Neal, Sebastian Telfair is another candidate to be a roster casualty once the Suns finalize their acquisition of Marcus Morris, says Kyler. If Phoenix trades either player for virtually nothing, the Grizzlies, who have seven trade exceptions and a need to add a 13th man to their roster, could get involved.
- As they explore J.J. Redick deals, the Magic continue to seek a high-level first-round pick or a package that includes a young player and second-round picks. Several teams have questioned whether it's worth meeting that asking price for what could be a 30-game rental of Redick, according to Kyler.
- If the Lakers make a trade, it's expected to be one that reduces their luxury-tax bill rather than one that drastically changes the roster.
- In addition to shopping Ronnie Brewer, the Knicks have also made Steve Novak available. The duo isn't drawing a whole lot of interest though.
- The Hawks are a potential destination for DeJuan Blair, particularly if Atlanta finalizes a Josh Smith trade.
February 21 at 1:41am CST By Chuck Myron
As the hours tick down to tomorrow's 2:00pm Central trade deadline, Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News is already starting to look ahead to free agency, and he writes that the Cavaliers believe they could make a longshot bid to sign Dwight Howard. That one seems hard to believe, and even Lawrence intimates that it's a little far-fetched. Still, the Cavs were reportedly in the mix for Andrew Bynum last year, and they'll have plenty of cap space this summer, so I suppose it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
In the meantime, there's more on potential deadline deals, and here's the latest:
- We've already heard that Danny Granger is staying put, and TNT's David Aldridge hears that's likely the case for Spurs big man DeJuan Blair, too (Twitter link).
- An Eastern Conference executive tells Michael Lee of The Washington Post he believes there's "very little" the Wizards can get for Jordan Crawford.
- The Wizards reportedly gave up on acquiring Josh Smith because they aren't willing to give up any of the players the Hawks would want in return, and HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy identifies John Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene as the three players the team wants to keep in any deal.
- With a deadline trade to the Warriors unlikely and his knee still not 100%, it looks like Eric Gordon will stay put with the Warriors past the deadline, writes Jimmy Smith of The Times Picayune, who hears from a source who said "nobody wants" Gordon.
- The Suns agreed to a deal to acquire Marcus Morris for a second-round pick tonight, but considered trading a first-round pick for Morris when the Rockets took him on draft night. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic has the details.
- The Magic have been trying to unload Al Harrington's contract, but the power forward figures he's not going anywhere, since other teams are likely wary of his health, as John Denton of Magic.com tweets.
- Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times identifies Devin Harris as a trade candidate and tweets that the Wisconsin product would mind playing for the Bucks, though I think if he ends up in Milwaukee, it's more likely via free agency this summer than in a deadline deal.
February 20 at 12:17pm CST By Luke Adams
The Sacramento City Council voted in favor of supporting mayor Kevin Johnson's quest to keep the Kings in town yesterday, by a 7-2 margin, according to Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee. While the vote was mostly symbolic, it shows that the city is open to providing a subsidy for a new arena that would be vital to Johnson's cause.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA, with a focus on tomorrow's trade deadline:
- The availability of big men like Marreese Speights and Jermaine O'Neal has softened the market for J.J. Hickson, according to Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge (via Twitter).
- While Danny Granger is viewed as the Pacers' top trade candidate, a deal involving Granger is unlikely, albeit not impossible, says Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld. According to Kyler, the Pacers would prefer to move Gerald Green, though he doesn't have much value on the trade market at this point.
- Despite the fact that the 2013 draft class is perceived as subpar, teams around the league are very reluctant to part with first-round picks, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com.
- DeJuan Blair isn't letting himself be affected by trade rumors involving him and the Spurs, as he tells Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News. "Of course I would like to stay," Blair said. "I’d like a better opportunity, also, so it goes both ways. It’s a business at the end of the day, so it’s not about what I want. It’s about what they want."
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post spoke to Ersan Ilyasova about the Nets' pursuit of him last summer in free agency, before Ilyasova re-upped with the Bucks.
- ESPN.com's 5-on-5 panel names the ideal landing spots for a handful of trade candidates.