Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Seven

Doc Rivers says DeAndre Jordan didn’t owe Mark Cuban a phone call

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DeAndre Jordan had a change of heart and mind, and decided to back out of his verbal commitment to the Dallas Mavericks and re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Jordan never called or reached out to Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban. There has been a lot of criticism online of that action.

Clippers GM and coach Doc Rivers is good with it.

Rivers addressed the media on Thursday about the re-signing of DeAndre Jordan and other summer moves by Los Angeles. He said Jordan didn’t have a responsibility to call Cuban, as reported by Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.

Here’s where I think Rivers is wrong on this count — Jordan had reached out to the Clippers and started to backtrack without his agent, Dan Fegan of Relativity Sports. Fegan was reportedly not getting his calls answered by Jordan either on Wednesday.

I will defend Jordan’s right to change his mind — we’ve all had buyers remorse and in his case the system allowed him to change his decision. It may not be professional, he should have thought this through first rather than become entranced by Dallas’ pitch, but he has the right to change his mind. And I don’t blame the Clippers for pushing for the change once Jordan called saying he was wavering.

But Jordan’s a 27-year-old man, he should have been mature enough and strong enough to talk to Cuban and tell him what he had decided. If you break up with someone, have the cojones to do it face-to-face.

Not shockingly, by the way, Doc Rivers is pretty good with the moratorium as it is right now. Which is good, because it’s 11 days next year, and it doesn’t sound like the union will want to change it.

Report: Sacramento has “very strong” interest in Josh Smith

Josh Smith
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On a team that wants to play up-tempo for George Karl and has DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos up front, plus Rajon Rondo as the point guard, you would think the goal with the cap space the Kings have left would be to add shooters.

Or, Josh Smith.

Smith, a career 28 percent shooter from three who improved all the way up to a barely passable 33 percent with the Rockets last year, is high on Kings wish list, reports Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports adds one reason the Kings may look at Smith.

The Kings do have some floor spacing shooters in Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay and Marco Belinelli, but they could use more. Opposing teams would be more than happy to let Smith fire away from the midrange or three (he hit 38 percent from three in the playoffs, but opposing teams are not going to believe that is the new normal yet).

Another question: In a locker room where there are already chemistry questions — Cousins and Karl having tension (something even GM Vlade Divac admitted Thursday), plus the injection of Rondo into the mix after his Dallas experience — is the strong personality of Josh Smith the right fit?

That said, Smith can still get points, get rebounds and defend at a quality level. He would bring some real depth and versatility to the Kings front line. With a lot of free agents off the board, the Kings may not have a better option.

But it comes with risks.

PBT Extra: DeAndre Jordan’s flip-flop was entertaining, but not professional

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban watches the Los Angeles Lakers play the Dallas Mavericks during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles
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You’d be hard pressed to find a more entertaining day of free agency than what went down on July 8 — from emoji travel wars to Blake Griffin’s sense of humor about barricading the door to DeAndre Jordan’s house. In the end Jordan stayed with the Clippers and Mark Cuban and the Mavericks were left out in the cold.

It was also unprofessional.

Which is why you will see a push from NBA teams to change and shorten the moratorium. That’s not going to be easy, the moratorium is part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement — the union would have to agree to a change. And the Clippers’ Chris Paul is the union president. But there will be a push.

It’s all covered in this latest PBT extra.

Expect changes to NBA moratorium rule in wake of DeAndre Jordan decision

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
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You might want to avoid Mark Cuban today. Nobody can really blame him for being in a bad mood — DeAndre Jordan, one of the best centers in the game, verbally agreed to come to Dallas, and then at the last minute backed out and re-signed with the Clippers. Jordan started what became one of the wildest days in free agency memory by calling up Doc Rivers directly, blocking out his agent and refusing to take a call from (let alone meet) Cuban face-to-face. It blew up the Maverick’s summer plans to try and be one of the elite teams in the West (they were probably still on the second tier, but if Jordan hadn’t given them a verbal Cuban likely would have gone in a very different direction this summer).

Cuban isn’t the only team executive ticked off.

There are a lot of other front offices around the league that thought this looked bad for business — players hiding out at a home, avoiding responsibility while playing cards and video games. It was certainly dramatic. It was also unprofessional. There are a lot of people — scouts, assistant coaches, and so many others that work for teams on the business side — whose livelihoods depend on the $5 billion NBA business, and this made it look like a toy.

What Jordan did was within his rights, I don’t have a problem with a player deciding to go where he wants. I don’t blame the Clippers — they got a direct call from Jordan saying he was having second thoughts, and their title hopes hinged on him changing his mind.

But there will be fallout from how this is done.

Other teams also saw how this shook out and feared the repercussions. For one it could mean even when a free agent decides to move on — and it doesn’t happen that often, major targets stay put about two-thirds of the time — the recruiting of them might not stop. Up to now, there had been an unwritten rule that once a player verbally committed everyone backed off. What’s more, teams note that Jordan’s decision to go to Dallas led to a number of other dominoes to fall in free agency. Teams chased other players, and those players made decisions based on Dallas not having cap space. Dallas likely doesn’t sign Wesley Matthews to a $57 million deal if Jordan says no the first time. Now all of that could open up again.

As a result, there is one thing you can bet on this summer — there will be a push to change the NBA’s moratorium period.

The challenge is that the moratorium is collectively bargained, so that changing it requires the union to buy in and tweak the CBA. That is a combative relationship as the two sides posture for the 2017 lockout, getting that done may not be easy. Plus don’t forget the Clippers’ Chris Paul is the union president, and that long break worked out pretty well for him this year.

There are couple reasons for the moratorium, which is usually seven to nine days (although next year it is scheduled to be until July 12.). One is to allow the league to crunch the numbers from the previous season, then use the final financial figures to set the new salary cap and tax line for next season. This year, that number jumped from the anticipated $67 million up to $70 million. That also impacts how much a max salary is and more.

The other (and league officials will tell you the main reason) is to give other teams the chance to meet with free agents and pitch them fairly. If there is no moratorium, it encourages teams to tamper and talk to players before free agency starts (which happens anyway through back channels, this would just make it more imperative and a larger operation).

Team officials would like one of two things to happen: The moratorium gets killed all together, or it gets shrunk down to three or four days.

The league wants free agents get the chance to meet with multiple teams and make a more patient, less pressured decision. That had some advantages for teams, but now some teams would like to do away with it all together. From Zach Lowe at Grantland.

That brings us to a simpler solution popular among team executives: Finish the damn audit on June 30, set the cap, and start real free agency — signings and everything — on July 1. Kill the moratorium. There would still be some back-channeling ahead of July 1, but since all players are technically under contract through June 30, such pre-free-agency chitchat would fall much more clearly under the league’s tampering rules. If some free agent were to switch teams at 12:01 a.m. July 1 without taking a single meeting, it would raise huge red flags.

If the union goes along with this — and that is no guarantee — my guess is next season will see a three-day moratorium. Maybe five tops. That way, the next time a player changes his mind, other teams and other decisions are not so far down the road. And the entire thing looks more professional.

Now that players can finally, officially sign deals here’s a list of who did at midnight

Anthony Davis
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The moratorium is over.

The NBA’s practice of allowing more than a week of negotiations between players and teams before anyone can actually put pen to paper to sign a deal has never gotten more scrutiny, thanks to DeAndre Jordan and his house guests. There could be changes in the future.

But the system wasn’t changing this year, and that moratorium ended when the calendar flipped from July 8 to 9 (Eastern time). Here is a list of who we know signed with teams immediately after midnight. There may be more, and the majority of players will sign later in the day (and have press conferences where they will talk to the media), but here is the list as we have it now (in no particular order):

• Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Omer Asik (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Alexis Ajinca (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Dante Cunningham (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Brandon Bass (Los Angeles Lakers)
• Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers)
• Ed Davis (Portland Trail Blazers)
• DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
• Luis Scola (Toronto Raptors)
• Brandan Wright (Memphis Grizzlies)