- Created on Thursday, 24 January 2013 00:17
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Jeff Noital
When the San Antonio Spurs signed Aron Baynes, that was the official sign for DeJuan Blair that the Spurs weren't looking to keep him in their long term plans. There have been rumors that he was on the trading block and Spurs fans were wondering when, not if, the news would break out that the Spurs parted ways with Blair either in a trade or being waived.
While waiving Blair is possible, it's unlikely since the Spurs have a roster spot open for Baynes. The team usually leaves that spot open in case of an injury, but the depth the Spurs have in every position, including small forward since they can insert Danny Green or Manu Ginobili in that role from the shooting guard spot, makes unlikely they'd need another player to step in for emergency. Fans have been impatient about Blair's future and have had questions on why an unhappy Blair hasn't been dealt yet.
The situation isn't as simple as it seems. While many fans tend to check players' salaries online to see what matches or go on sites that have some type of applications that let them try a trade, it's not as easy as it sounds. The salaries don't just have to match, but you also see it from the other team's prospective. In fact, there's some factors that are against Blair in the way of trading him. These factors play into trading him to virtually any team in the league. One of them is Blair's contract.
His contract is at the minimum of what he's allowed at $1.05 million this season. Usually when a player with a low salary like that is traded it's because he's playing extremely well and the team can't match an extension of any kind with a larger salary. There's fillers thrown in the deal too, most likely an expiring deal. Blair's stock is extremely low right now, probably be safe to label him as an "experiment" for whoever would deal for him. Take that into account and also factor in that the Spurs don't have expiring deals to throw in a situation where a Blair trade is possible. Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson won't even be brought up in a trade with Blair and Matt Bonner, a likely "filler" in a deal, isn't an expiring contract until next year.
Another factor is that it would be a horrible idea for a team to trade for him unless they're contending. Here's the problem with trading Blair to a lottery bound team: they wouldn't dream of giving up even an extremely low second round pick for a guy who's going to become a free agent. If they really want him, they'd try to sign him next year while he has little value. A bad team would be giving up a draft pick for a guy who'll be playing with them half the season and not helping them out at all for the long run. Are there teams that would trade a draft pick for him? Absolutely. I can name three teams at the top of my head who could use a guy like Blair for a few minutes: Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat. The problem is that they're all contenders and those would be the likely suitors for him. The Spurs would be relectant to trade Blair to a contender and then get (at best) a horrible pick in return. It'd be an even worse trade if the team were to meet Blair in the playoffs and he'd have huge games against them.
At this point, the Spurs have been playing it safe and no one can blame them. They really can't get anything for Blair without possibly suffering worse loss than gain. If the Spurs let Blair walk during free agency, it'd be the best move they can make. They could waive Blair if he absolutely was a locker room personality looking for trouble with his lack of minutes, but that'd be the only reason to do it. The bad teams wouldn't want to give anything for him and the Spurs can't afford to give him to a good team. The DeJuan Blair saga hasn't been pretty, but it hasn't been the easiest to figure out either.