If there's one San Antonio Spurs player who has drawn a lot of attention in this offseason not involving a bar fight, it's Spurs forward DeJuan Blair. Since the day before the NBA Draft back in June, Blair has been rumored to be on the trading block.
After taking part in a youth basketball camp in his hometown of Pittsburgh recently, Blair told Douglas Farmer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Spurs do indeed have him on the trading block, but with the class the Spurs are known for, Blair says they're looking to put him in his best possible chance to excel in the future.
"Hopefully, I stay a Spur, but if it doesn't happen, life moves on," Blair said. "They've got me on the trade market and they'll do the best to get me in the greatest situation possible."
Even though Blair hasn't been happy over his diminished role in the playoffs over the past three seasons, he says that it's all been a process for him to grow into the mature player that he is today.
"They never let me mess up or make mistakes. It's been a great experience. I would love to spend the rest of my career there, but like I keep saying, it's a business."
As for his offseason, Blair knows why he has lost a good chunk of his minutes, it's because of his lack of a perimeter shot. Today, he says he's working to make that an important part of his game.
"It was wonderful," he said of the challenge. "I lost about 16 pounds, and I'm getting my shot. Once I can drain that 15-footer and get my body toned up, it's going to be great.
Here's a quick timeline of how Blair's summer has gone so far involving his trade situation.
June 28 - The day before the NBA draft, a report broke that the Spurs were trying to trade Blair to clear roster space for European players coming from overseas. One of those guys is Nando De Colo, the other was Erazem Lorbek, who decided to stay in Spain. In that report, the source said Blair was open to being moved because of his lack of playing time in the playoffs.
July 09 - While training with the United States Select team in Las Vegas, Blair told Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express News that he felt his days were numbered in the silver and black, because of the amount of big men the team already had.
July 10 - The following day, an announcement was made that Boris Diaw intended to re-sign with the Spurs. Re-singing Diaw, the player who took more of Blair's minutes, was yet another sign the team was moving in the direction with Diaw as the future.
July 12 - Blair's agent Happy Walters told a local television station that he felt this coming season was going to be Blair's last with the Spurs, if Blair even made it that far, as he has a non-guaranteed contract this coming season. That means the Spurs have until early January to trade him or decide to waive him.
July 13 - A report broke out of that the Spurs were looking for a future first-round draft pick for Blair.
August 7 - Today, Blair has admitted the Spurs are indeed looking to trade him, but it's good to see they're looking for the best possible place for him.
Exactly! Bonner is not even in Steve Kerr arena. Maybe Pop need to take a break! I think the spurs has wasted Tim youth. After 2007, they have never surrounded Tim with players that can help him win another title. he could of had at least 3 more if they had only upgrade and surrounded tim with some players. Lakers do it for Kobe. What a shame! Tim should have gone to play with Lebron. TP is overrated! no dfense, old man body. he gave out of gas after the 1st half of that okc game, according to him, he suppose to be the young one. Need a good back up point guard or he should have played Patty Mills.
@mrob The Spurs definitely didn't "waste" Tim's youth. He won 4 titles before turning 31. I would call that a grand success. The Lakers throw money at height because they have money to burn. San Antonio on the other hand has to be realistic, especially considering the outcome of our last business extravagance **cough RJ cough**. Tim has wayyyyy too much class and competitive spirit to leave the Spurs in order to seek championships. He showed that no matter what talent you surround him with, he can be successful. This is juxtaposed to LBJ who's incredible hype couldn't match up to the end product so he took his talents to South Beach in order to hook up with some friends who could win him a ring.
I wouldn't call TP "overrated" in the sense that the NBA regularly looks over him when talking about best PG's in the game. In fact, league-wide I would say TP has been consistently underrated. However, us Spurs fans know the dazzling performances he can put on with a basketball (see 2007 Finals) and we believe he should do that every night. Unfortunately, TP is his own worst enemy in this aspect because when he mentally checks out of the game, the effect on the team is destructive. Patty Mills cannot and will not do what TP has done, however, I think he can be an offensive force in the future.
I just need for that 3.5 mil Bonner to be replace with a productive player. Spurs dont need a periodic 6' 10 that does nothing but shoot 3's in regular season. Spurs need a 6' 10 that can defend, rebound, block shots, and score. Bonner has proven he cant even shoot in the playoffs when it matters. I am surprise PoP has kept him this long. He does nothing! Shooting 3's is easy replacable, spurs need to get Duncan help down low or Spurs are doomed. Bonner has never played defense nor does he try. I dont want to see him in the blacka nd silver this season. I rather keep blair.
@mrob Spurs cant "replace" bon's 3.5 mil with some other 3.5 mil guy..they are over cap, so they could only replace him with a vet minimum player. What vet min guy are you sure will do as well as matt? Doesn't matter anyway now because amnesty deadline passed (and it would have been wasted on matt because spurs would still be capped) and his deal is guaranteed this year. So trade is only way he goes. And btw good 3 pt shooters are NOT as easily replaceable as you suggest. And frankly the never played defense or even tried is a huge overstatement. Ridiculous even. Tell us how many 6'10" scorers, defenders,rebounders, and shot blockers there are in NBA that make only 3.5 mil. Sorry, but they dont exist. I'm not saying I'm content with Bonner either, don't get it twisted..but some of your comments are just ludicrous.
@mrob Craig, my reply was to mrob not you..and again I'm no big Matt supporter either. I'd rather have Darko too, but its unlikely he signs for minimum imo. As for +/- I never even brought it up..but since you did, I think it is why Pops does give him PT..and stretch 4s are important for a team running a system like ours. Ya, it would be cool if we had a better one, but hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes players don't end up doing as much as Coach/FO hoped when they signed them. And again, I will point out that seasoned bigs tend to be way overpaid, so in reality 3.5 mil isn't as ridiculous a deal as it seems sometimes. Long story short, hopefully Spurs find a trade that's good, and I would be surprised if they haven't tried before at some point. But now he's under contract and without a trade, he's a Spur until next year at least.
@Spursfan66 @mrob Trade for a washing machine for all I care. The guy is a purely regular season phenomenon. The exact opposite of what I want a Spurs player to be. You can point to his +/- all you want, the guy cannot rebound, defend the post, or do anything offensively outside the 3 point line. He is a liability that Pop loves to play for some reason. I would rather sign Darko for vet minimum (given he is still on the market) than spend another post-season with the Red Rocket flaming out in his usual fashion. I really wouldn't care if we were paying him 500k a year, he is a detriment to the team.
@mrob After I heard that Pop said the best shooter he's ever seen play is Bonner over Steve Kerr, I knew we were doomed...
@mrob Hopefully he will be trade bait, it's about time one of the many "X" Spurs coaches and GMs hooked us up with a trade...
The problem isn't Blair's height, it is his work ethic. His rookie season, when the Spurs played the Mavs in the playoffs, I remember a fierce Blair who was fighting for and winning rebounds against Dirk and Haywood. He even managed to frustrate Dirk so much on the boards that Dirk through one of his predictable hissy fits. Blair was able to out work others for boards and was getting hustle points.
Then the next season, he decides to ballon to nearly 300 pounds eating whataburgers in his off time. Pop predictably benched him which made Blair upset. Then comes this past season where Blair starts the entire year only to find an over-weight, "washed up," Boris Diaw is willing to work harder for starting center position (not to mention his passing abilities and shooting).
So don't get it twisted that "oh, this is merely a height issue," it's a maturity issue. For God's sake, the only offensive move he's learned over 3 years of playing is his rip-off TP teardrop. He has demonstrated zero dedication to getting better and, in my opinion, has gotten worse since his breakout rookie season. The only reason he was able to survive on the team is because we are paying him nearly nothing. Until Blair matures and takes basketball seriously, we have no place on the team for him.
Duncan needs a true center to win a ring again. Blair is good and he plays his heart out but if in the picture above, Green your SG-SF guy is taller than you as center then that is a very big problem. You can play here in the Philippines Blair. The standard height for center here is 6'6".
Probably 1 or 2 2nd round pick, seriously, who will trade for this guy for a 1st rounder? Even the FO in Timerwolves is not that stupid anymore.
@mrob Pop's favorite white guy is stuck with us unfortunately even after having another miserable playoffs. In my mind, he should be #1 to be traded over Blair. Since Diaw provides pretty much the same range with countless other abilities, there is no place for Bonner to make $3.5 mil only to flame out in the playoffs. He has to go.
I like Blair, but the problem is that he's just too small at the PF position. He's listed at 6'7", but he's probably just 6'5" from what I see of him with that picture with Danny Green. BTW, has Danny Green been resigned to the Spurs yet?
@jtshoopsblog I saw that too, he makes up for it a little bit with his reach, but not enough. DG re-upped for a fair price, gave us a decent hometown discount.
Great. I'm glad he waited til the off season before his 4th year as a pro, when he'll be 23 years old to work on his jump shot and conditioning. *rolls eyes*
This is the problem with DeJuan. The fact that he didn't have the natural intelligence to know earlier in his career that he should develop a jump shot says all you need to know about him. Natural rebounder? Yes. A BEAST? Yes. But not a pro.
Nonsense ! I personally watch Blair put in many hours trying to develop a shot. He has no natural feel for shooting and the staff gave him a flatfooted 10-12ftr to practice. He has no confidence to use it in games and would likely be benched for trying. Same story for Tiago. Some guys have bad mechanics, others have iron hands and bad mechanics
You are so right. Both Blair and Splitter share similar problem, lack of perimeter shooting. It is not easy to let go of a quality player like Blair and the time spent in developing him but, he is just too undersized for his position. The Spurs either waive him or find a suitable trade. It is time to make a decision but, to insist on a ist round draft to trade him appears to be a dream. Maybe, just waive him and try Andray Blatche or some other big guy. Let's be frank about it, Blair will never learn to make perimeter shots and he will never grow tall. These are facts of life.
@rtesoro440 @jojo707 Sorry but I disagree, shooting is a product of the work you put into it. If Avery Johnson and Tony Parker could work their way into becoming serviceable jump shooters then Blair could easily develop a shot. He has good hands and a great touch. He doesn't need a "perimeter" shot, just a little 15 footer to keep defenses honest. He worked on his floater last season and look how much that improved. The only thing keeping him from shooting better is hundreds of thousands of reps, not something you can fix by just shooting a few hours here and there. He will eventually develop a jumper once he gets serious about his career and his training regimen. It is just a matter of putting the nose to the grindstone for thousands of hours. Hopefully getting traded or waived will be the wake-up call he needs to get his priorities straight and seriously work on his game, if he trained with half the intensity he plays with, this whole discussion wouldn't even exist.
@dannyholloway You are so right! He would be very "Barkley-esc" if he could develop that jumper. You know the Spurs have a history of improving players shots, hard to believe they didn't push the issue with him. Just imagine how good he could have been if he hadn't waited until now to become a gym rat.
@dannyholloway Um. The worst thing Malik Rose ever did was try to develop an outside game. DeJuan will go the same way. Guys like him ruin what they do best by trying to develop a perimeter game.