- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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The Washington Wizards are in talks with the Dallas Mavericks about a potential sign-and-trade deal that would land veteran forward/center DeJuan Blair with the Wizards, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Wizards have expressed strong interest in the free agent and are trying to come to terms with Blair on a new contract before the Mavericks have to renounce their rights to Blair to make salary-cap space for the new players they're signing.
One source expressed confidence Sunday night that "things could move fast" on a deal that calls for Dallas to sign-and-trade Blair to Washington this week as opposed to just renouncing him.
Working on a one-year minimum deal last season, Blair played with an intensity and tenacity that the Mavs sorely needed in their frontcourt. Due to Samuel Dalembert's inconsistencies and Brandan Wright's matchup-based play, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle often went to Blair, 25, as the primary center off the bench.
And in the playoffs, Blair's physical nature changed the dynamic over the course of a seven-game series against San Antonio, which proved to be the Spurs' toughest test of what became a run to the championship.
Blair was ejected late in a pivotal Game 4 against the Spurs when he kicked center Tiago Splitter in the head during a loose-ball foul, in what Blair said was an accident. Although the ensuing one-game suspension hurt, Blair's efforts helped Dallas push the eventual champs to the limit before the Spurs -- who drafted Blair No. 37 overall in 2009 -- won Game 7 in a rout.
ESPNDallas.com's Bryan Gutierrez contributed to this report.