This is about as surprising an announcement as the coming “LeBron James has decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers” one.
DeAndre Jordan is not going to be a Knick.
Jordan as been choosing between going home to Texas and joining the Mavericks or staying put with the Clippers for a while now, so Jordan’s people let the Knicks know where things stood, allowing them to get on with their Robin Lopez contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
The Knicks will now finalize their four-year, $54 million deal with Lopez (because of a league-wide moratorium, no contract can be signed until July 9). This is a quality pickup for the Knicks. It gives them a solid big man in the paint who can defend the rim, is strong on the offensive glass, and while he will not score much he stays in his lane on that end and basically only finishes near the rim. If Knicks fans are balking at the price tag for Lopez (an averaged of $13.5 million a year) remember that the salary cap is about to spike by about $40 million over two years — this deal is going to look like a steal in a couple years. Howard Beck of Bleacher Report put it well on Twitter.
Would Paul Pierce agree to this if DeAndre Jordan were leaving town? Maybe, but it seems far less likely.
Paul Pierce has decided to leave the red, white, and blue of our nation’s capital for the red, white, and blue of a team on the other coast — the one in his hometown of Los Angeles.
He is going to reunite with his old coach Doc Rivers and try to lead the Los Angeles Clippers over the hump, something first reported by Dan Woike of the Orange County Register:
That works out to basically $10 million over the three years, and the third year is a team option. A couple days ago it seemed Pierce — the 10-time All-Star and NBA champion in Boston — did not want to give the Clippers a discount, that he was leaning toward staying a Wizard. However, the pull of his home town proved too much.
The Clippers have been looking to upgrade at the three this off-season. They shipped out Matt Barnes but brought in Lance Stephenson, but Rivers said he hoped to bring Stephenson off the bench. This signing allows them to do that, although Stephenson may play more minutes than Pierce.
Pierce turns 38 next season but his crafty, veteran game that ages well. He averaged 11.9 points a game and shot 38.9 percent from three last season. The challenge is that he had more success playing at the four, while the Clippers have Blake Griffin at the four and would use Pierce more at the three. That spot has been a challenge to him in recent seasons, particularly defensively.
Still, the Clippers think they got a guy who can knock down big shots in big moments — “I called game.” The Clippers have that in Chris Paul but wanted more veteran presence.
But if Jordan bolts, this move could be moot. Which is why it seems Pierce might know something.
DeAndre Jordan is an unrestricted free agent, and while he’s always been expected to meet with other teams, it’s been believed that the Clippers, armed with an extra year and an additional $27 million that only they can offer, remained the frontrunners to re-sign him.
But with free agency set to kick off at midnight Eastern on Wednesday, it’s now being reported that L.A. has no better than a 50-50 chance of retaining Jordan’s services.
Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:
Free agent DeAndre Jordan is likely looking to sign a four-year deal that allows him to opt out after three seasons, which would nullify the Los Angeles Clippers’ advantage in keeping the center, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.
The Clippers could offer Jordan a deal that includes a fifth year worth $27 million. …
Sources had told ESPN.com earlier this week that the Mavericks are considered the likeliest team to persuade Jordan to leave the Clippers, and a source close to the situation told ESPN on Tuesday that it’s “50/50” between the two teams.
Also included in this report is the idea that Jordan is tired of being a third wheel behind Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. If that is a factor, then going to Dallas, the Lakers or the Knicks would all be better options.
But the biggest part of this may be the fact that Jordan is reportedly seeking to sign a shorter deal now, to once again hit free agency and then sign another long-term contract to maximize his earning potential under the increased salary cap.
That negates the inherent advantage the Clippers had in re-signing him to a five-year max, but it sounds as though other issues — like wanting to be recognized as a team’s primary star, or perhaps just wanting to be in a more pleasant situation — may take priority in his decision-making process.
DeAndre Jordan is reportedly interested in being courted during free agency, and is expected to meet with the Lakers, Mavericks and Bucks in addition to considering a max offer to remain with the Clippers.
A rift reportedly exists between Jordan and Chris Paul, and that would undoubtedly need to be addressed before Jordan re-upped on a long-term deal to re-sign.
But another team’s superstar has no such issues with Jordan, and has reached out to him to begin the free agent recruitment process.
From Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times:
Jordan’s first meeting will be on Wednesday with the Dallas Mavericks at the Beverly Hills offices of his representative, Relativity Sports, said NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Jordan will meet with the Lakers and then the New York Knicks later in the day, the official said.
The Clippers, who will have Coach Doc Rivers, owner Steve Ballmer and a video presentation, will be the last team to meet with Jordan on Thursday, the officials said.
Jordan has gotten a call from Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, the officials said. Bryant wanted Jordan to know the Lakers are interested.
The Mavericks and the Clippers remain the teams most likely to retain Jordan’s services. But if the Lakers are to be considered, having one of the greatest players of all time call personally to express the team’s interest can only help the cause.
Two summers ago Chandler Parsons helped recruit Dwight Howard to Houston. Then last summer Parsons bolted the Rockets and signed with the rival Mavericks over in Dallas.
Even there he doesn’t stop. Chandler is back to recruiting big men.
He met last week with DeAndre Jordan at his Texas home and flew back to Los Angeles with him. Dallas is looking like the biggest threat to lure Jordan away from the Clippers, as reported by Tim MacMahon at ESPN.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavericks are the team feared most by the Clippers even though Jordan is expected to meet with at least two more teams: the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.
Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons, who regards himself to be Dallas’ lead recruiter on free agent matters, visited Jordan in Houston last weekend and traveled to Los Angeles immediately after Thursday’s draft to spend more time with the big man.
Jordan’s decision likely comes down to staying with the Clippers or heading to Dallas. He wants to be more at the forefront of a team, and that’s not happening with the Lakers (that’s Kobe Bryant’s team, and then it will be probably D’Angelo Russell’s). The Knicks are a long shot.
Clippers fans should be nervous — if Jordan bolts Los Angeles has no way to replace him with near the same quality (even without Jordan’s contract LA would be close to the cap and have only the mid-level exception to use; which last year got them Spencer Hawes). Jordan reportedly has felt like the third wheel at times — the Clippers are Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s team. Jordan gets Defensive Player of the Year votes, Doc Rivers pumps Jordan up like no other (he restored the confidence Vinny Del Negro had shattered), but Jordan is not the focal point of the Clippers. Not even close, and that plus CP3’s unrelenting competitiveness can wear on some guys.
Still, the Clippers have three big things going for them. First, Jordan likes being in Los Angeles and Hollywood, he likes all the perks that can be associated with living in the nation’s second . Second, frustrated with him or not, no point guard is going to make Jordan look as good, no point guard trust him like Paul. Finally, and most importantly, the Clippers can offer one more guaranteed year (five years vs. four) and about $30 million more in guaranteed money than anyone else.
The money — and the fact the Clippers are contenders — should have Jordan leaning Los Angeles. But after years of feeling like the third guy at best on the team, the fact other teams are going to pump up his ego — as Parsons is already doing — will play well with a guy wanting that recognition.