Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/17/13
To say there is no love lost for new Mavericks’ big man DeJuan Blair toward his former employer the San Antonio Spurs would be an understatement. As the saying goes in messy business deals one side got the gold mine and Blair felt like he got the shaft. Blair who measures 6-7 only on his best days is a supremely motivated player this season. Shunned by the Spurs last season he signed a one-year contract with the Mavericks for two reasons. He wants to rebuild his value around the league and get four chances to exact revenge on the Spurs who slashed his playing time basically in half last season. “Like everybody else who doesn’t play it was very disappointing” he said. “But I knew I was going to a new team and somebody else was going to take advantage of the potential I had. So to me it’s not a big deal. “It’s going to be fun being on the opposite team and playing with the Mavs [in the rivalry with San Antonio]. They didn’t give me anything when I was there [in San Antonio]. I mean the fans gave me everything. But everything else it is what it is.” Blair had been an integral part of the Spurs in his first three seasons. Last season he was bypassed in the rotation by Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw. The final straw came in the NBA Finals. With the Spurs scant seconds from the championship Blair watched from the bench for all of Game 6 as the Miami Heat scored an unlikely comeback win. Blair’s team had it won and then it didn’t. “I didn’t have it won” Blair said emphatically. “The Spurs had it won.” So Blair already has the four meetings with San Antonio circled this season. But there are more pressing priorities to address first. Blair’s ability to rebound defend and play the power forward and center positions will earn him court time with the Mavericks particularly early in the season when Brandan Wright is recovering from a shoulder injury . To paraphrase coach Rick Carlisle Blair must be a tail-kicker. Carlisle said Blair has been putting in a lot of extra work to make sure he knows the power forward and the center responsibilities. Despite his lack of height he’s been a center more than anything else in his career and he doesn’t have a problem with that. When told he’s a little undersized he said: “A little? I just try to use more of what I have than what I don’t have. I know I don’t have height. But I got a lot of power and strength. I’m pretty strong. So it’s going to even out. I’ve been playing [center] all my life against 7-footers.”
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