Blair in Russia

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Every summer, we fret over how much Spurs veterans are playing in the summer. We worry about the risk of injury and the added miles that a tournament places on players, especially as these offseason tournaments tend to conclude so close to the start of training camp. This summer, though, there is less of a reason to give pause given the uncertain nature of collective bargaining talks between the NBA and Players Association. If the regular season doesn’t start until January, it shouldn’t hurt for members of the Spurs to get some competitive basketball in their systems for a few weeks. Unfortunately, San Antonio’s American-born players don’t have that luxury. The US Senior National Team is not taking part in any competitions this summer, and even if they were, no Spurs would likely be suiting up for the red, white and blue.

Instead, these players are looking for other options abroad. Danny Green has already signed and departed for Slovenia, joining draft pick Davis Bertans on Union Olimpija. More recently, DeJuan Blair agreed to a deal in Russia with Krasnye Krylya Samara. Blair’s signing might be the most welcome news of the summer until we hear of a resolution in the lockout. Blair battled weight issues this past season and, as far as I know, there are no Whataburgers in Russia. Jokes aside, Blair’s conditioning is important when the Spurs begin next season. Where Blair stands in the Spurs big man rotation is a complete unknown right now because Antonio McDyess has yet to decide his own future and free agency has yet to begin. If Blair reports to training camp sharp and in shape, he gives Gregg Popovich a known quantity amidst other variables in the equation.

Even on the upside that an agreement is reached between the players and owners in time to play a full regular season, just a handful of weeks training in Russia should be more effective than what Blair did back home. Two-a-days in Russia trump summer pro-am runs in the states any day, in my opinion.

  • mvg03

    IMO Blairs expendable along with Bonner and RJ…I know the latter have difficult contracts but a fan can dream right

  • KG

    Hopefully Blair gets a lot out of his experience in Russia.

    ESPN front page right now: Tiago Splitter’s Brazil squad handed FIBA Americas favorite Argentina its first loss of the tournament.

    I check the boxscore and he played 18 minutes and was 0-6, oh boy xD

  • Bry

    RJ is overpaid, Bonner is not. He made 3 million last year. The Spurs would have no problem trading him if they thought they could get something of greater value in return (around 3 million worth). Obviously, so far, they don’t think they can. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    I would trade Bonner straight up for Kosta Koufos any day of the week. The money works and he’s a better athlete than Bonner and all around player for that position than Bonner or Blair.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUZZJy3JFmE

  • Titletown99030507d

    And they still won. There you have it. Splitter does other things that are valuable  for his team to win. 8 rebounds in that game 7 were defensive. 3 assists. And probably a whole lot of pressuring the opposing big man. As long as you got scorers he’ll be just as useful in a team setting for what they want out of him. Besides Pop has even said Splitter is not going to be the main scorer of your team but brings a lot of different intangibles to the team and game.

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  • Bob

    Exactly. The Spurs have been missing that hard working post player that does the things necessary to win or intangibles since the Oberto/Mohammed/Nesterovic days. Bonner avoids contact and Blair is too short.

  • Bry

    There is no way Denver makes that trade. Koufas will make 2.2 million this year (if there is a season). Denver has absolutely no reason to give him away to a fellow conference rival, especially when they may not have Kenyon Martin back. Teams don’t normally dump underpaid players, which is why I don’t see anybody trading for Bonner straight up for anybody that has more value for the Spurs. Bonner just isn’t paid enough to bring in talent in a straight up trade.

  • Bry

    Right, they’re lacking a starting post-player. Dice, Bonner, and Blair at this point in their careers are all fine as role players, but not starters in the front-court. They need to find a way to get Splitter minutes, even alongside Duncan if he’s going to become a bigger part of the rotation next year. Those three guys were all ahead of him in the rotation last year, and I’m sure he can move up two or three spots with a year of the NBA under his belt.

  • Anonymous

    Just seen De Colo lead the France team with 21 pts 4 rebs & 5 stls playing 26 mins, probably because Gelabale was missing but Parker played 33 mins in that game which means they must have played together. Cool

  • KG

    I’m just poking fun at the fact that just because he’s the best known NBA player on the team he’s the one on the headline ‘leading’ Brazil to a win.

  • DorieStreet

    The best move he could have made/going against decent talent in a real team/league/season environment.

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