The Washington Wizards have regrouped from Trevor Ariza‘s departure quite nicely with an offseason strategy that can be described pretty simply: Grab ALL OF THE REBOUNDS.
After acquiring Kris Humphries in a sign-and-trade Tuesday, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported Wednesday morning that the Wizards were looking to do the same in a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks to add DeJuan Blair to the frontcourt. Blair tweeted the news was all but official:
— DeJuan Blair (@DeJuan45) July 16, 2014
Blair, who signed with the Mavs for the league minimum last season, played a significant role in Dallas’ postseason run against the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs in the first round. The Mavs took San Antonio to seven games and had it not been for Blair’s Game 5 suspension, the Mavs might have been able to take a 3-2 series lead with a chance to close things out at home.
Blair averaged 6.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game against the Spurs in the first round. He put up 12 points and 11 boards in 16 minutes in a close Game 4 defeat and his 10 points, 14 rebounds and four steals in Game 6 helped Dallas extend the series. Blair averaged 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the regular season.
DeJuan Blair signed in Dallas for minimum last season, made big playoff contribution and now Mavs trying to help him w/no room to keep him — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 16, 2014
As Stein notes, the Mavs don’t really have the room to keep him so they’re doing him a favor by helping him out with a sign-and-trade that sends him to a Wizards team that could seriously compete in a wide open Eastern Conference. Blair will join Marcin Gortat, Nene, Humphries and the newly re-signed Drew Gooden in the frontcourt. The Wizards will use Paul Pierce and Otto Porter Jr. to replace Ariza on the wing.
The Wizards are stacked in their frontcourt depth, but it does raise some questions about the future of Al Harrington and Kevin Seraphin in Washington. Harrington recently expressed interest in playing another season and the Wizards extended Seraphin a qualifying offer earlier in July to make him a restricted free agent. Washington might rescind that offer now.
Even if the Mavericks had room for Blair, the arrivals of Tyson Chandler and Greg Smith means he’d get limited minutes off the bench. Dallas is expected to only receive draft considerations in return to make the deal official.