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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Sources: Mavs, DeJuan Blair close

By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

Blair
Blair

DALLAS -- The Mavericks are closing in on the signing of free-agent big man DeJuan Blair, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavericks -- who remain one of six finalists for the services of Greg Oden -- are in advanced talks to add Blair to a revamped rotation of frontcourt sidekicks for Dirk Nowitzki.

The deal, expected to be a one-year contract at the league mininum $1.4 million, has not yet been officially announced.

But Blair tweeted about the pending deal Tuesday morning.

Dallas!!!!! Now lets have some fun!!!!

— DeJuan Blair (@DeJuan45) July 30, 2013

With one source saying Tuesday that a deal looks "promising," the former Spurs center appears poised to join new projected starting center Samuel Dalembert and the re-signed duo of Brandan Wright and Bernard James in a posse of centers to play alongside Nowitzki after Dallas lost out to Houston in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.

Blair's exit from San Antonio has been anticipated for some time after his increasing struggles to earn playing time from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich last summer.

The Spurs did explore deals for Blair before the league's annual trade deadline in February but ultimately kept him and used him sparingly in the playoffs. The 6-foot-7, 265-pounder -- who slipped to No. 37 in the 2009 draft because of a history of knee troubles dating to high school -- averaged just 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in 14 minutes per game last season.

Blair also logged just less than 18 minutes of court time in three appearances in the NBA Finals against Miami.

Although the Mavericks are essentially restricted to offering minimum contracts at this point in the summer after making a number of signings post-Howard, they continue to hold out hope that Oden will decide that Dallas is the ideal place to launch his comeback under the watch of longtime Team USA trainer Casey Smith and team doctor Tarek Souryal.

Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that Oden is scheduled to receive formal offers this week detailing both the financial specifics as well as the medical care available from the six teams that have been chasing him all month: Miami, San Antonio, New Orleans, Atlanta, Sacramento and Dallas. Oden is then expected to choose his new team this week.