According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard on True Hoop, DeJuan Blair was 10 seconds away from being a Cleveland Cavalier.
I reported this on my NBA 411 segment on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” today: According to information gathered from multiple league executives, DeJuan Blair was 10 seconds away from joining “King James” and “The Big Shaquisition” in Cleveland.
On draft night 2009, Cleveland offered Denver $2 million for the 34th pick. Cavs GM Danny Ferry thought it was essentially a done deal and had fingered Blair as the pick.
But with just 10 seconds left to make its selection, Denver was offered $2.25 million, a league record for the sale of a 34th pick, from the Houston Rockets. Because there was such a small amount of time left to make the pick, the Nuggets didn’t have a chance to give Cleveland the opportunity to beat Houston’s offer.
During our live draft night coverage on Project Spurs, Glenn Moore, a devout Cavs fan and host of the Dugout Sport Show, said the Cavs should take Blair with their 30th pick. Instead they selected Christian Eyenga. We both kept mentioning Blair’s name as he continued to fall, never expecting him to fall right into the lap of R.C. Buford.
Buford has said that if Blair did not fall to 37, Jack McClinton, who they selected 51st, would have been their selection at 37. Since then McClinton had a poor showing during summer league play and asked to be released prior to training camp. He landed in Minnesota’s camp and since has been waived.
It only took ten seconds for the rich to get richer. Instead of McClinton, who isn’t on an NBA squad, the Spurs now have Blair who is averaging just over eight points and rebounds per game and looking like a possible Rookie of the Year candidate.
As for Eyenga, he opted to continue playing internationally in Spain. 0.4 seconds may not be kind to the Spurs, but I’ll take those ten seconds any day.