While the coals were hot on a potential DeJuan Blair trade to the Golden State Warriors in July (via Marcus Thompson), things cooled down with the San Antonio Spurs power forward considerably until Tuesday.
Speaking with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Blair talked about his reduced role with the Spurs in the NBA playoffs, where he averaged just 7.6 minutes per game, and where that puts him in the organization's 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."
Blair's bleak outlook is understandable considering the Spurs signed Boris Diaw, Blair's replacement during the playoffs, to a two-year deal during the offseason and already looked to move the former Pitt Panther earlier this offseason.
And considering Blair is just 23 years old and is coming off another stellar season in San Antonio where he started 62 of 64 games played while averaging 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, you would think the market would be robust.
But with the "on the trade market" Blair still on the Spurs roster, it's become pretty obvious that the Spurs waited too long to get their power forward's name out on the block.
Blair's top suitor, the Warriors, already moved on by signing Carl Landry to a two-year, $8 million deal in late July, and there are very few big-needy teams still looking for a trade.
The remaining teams that negotiate with San Antonio will question Blair's knees, which are both without anterior cruciate ligaments, and weight, where he's generously listed at 270 pounds. Blair's 6'7" frame also makes him comically undersized for an NBA power forward, causing a defensive deficiency any time he's on the floor.
And with players like Lou Amundson, Kenyon Martin and Shelden Williams still left on the market, there is no good reason for a big-needy contender to part with a draft pick for Blair—especially considering his impending free agency means paying him next offseason.
The fact is, general manager R.C. Buford held onto Blair, thinking that a desperate team would part with a first-round pick. But as free agency shook out, there turned out to be more quality bigs than suitors.
That means San Antonio will either need to take a second-round choice for the No. 37 pick of the 2009 draft or keep Blair, who will undoubtedly be unhappy if the playoffs are any indication of his new role.