DeAndre Jordan is entering the final year of a contract in which he was overpaid somewhat significantly. This wasn’t the Clippers fault necessarily, as they chose (wisely) to match an offer sheet from the Warriors on a deal that would require a four-year, $43 million commitment to a big man who had averaged just 7.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots in the year before the new deal went into effect.
L.A., like so many teams are forced to do, was paying for potential.
Jordan realized plenty of it last season under a new head coach in Doc Rivers, who challenged his big man to dominate on the defensive end of the floor from day one, while including him with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin when promoting the cornerstones of the franchise.
With Jordan entering a contract year, the Clippers would love to lock him up with an extension for three additional seasons before he has a chance to increase his value in advance of becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer. But there’s little incentive for Jordan to take it, and Rivers knows that.
Doc Rivers on DeAndre Jordan taking extension vs. waiting for longer deal in summer: “He won’t ever accept an extension. Why would he?”
Doc Rivers on D. Jordan being in contract year: “Everybody, they get what they earn. That’s basically in life and that will happen for D.J.”
Jordan made a leap under Rivers last season, and ended up leading the league in both rebounds per game (13.6) and field goal percentage (67.6), while averaging a career-best 10.4 points per game in 35 minutes per contest.
The minutes increase is perhaps most important, as Rivers (unlike the Clippers previous head coach Vinny Del Negro) trusted Jordan in late game situations.
There’s no reason for Jordan to take the extension when he has the chance to surpass last season’s production, and secure a longer deal in free agency next summer. It’ll be interesting to see if the Clippers are willing to pay him what other teams might when the time comes, and a lot of that may come down to whether or not L.A. can finally advance deep into the postseason with the team’s current roster, which, to some extent, is built around Jordan’s abilities on the defensive end of the floor.