There are signs DeAndre Jordan will leave the Clippers in free agency this summer.
He said he’d explore the market, reportedly including the Mavericks. He and Chris Paul reportedly had a falling out. Given a chance to express his affection for the franchise, Jordan offered: “I’ve been here for seven years, so this is what I’m used to.”
But there’s a big reason he’d stay in Los Angels – money.
The Clippers project to be able to offer Jordan about $109 million over five years. His max with another team projects to be about $81 million over four years.
There has been a little hemming and hawing about whether Jordan deserves the max. Not from Doc Rivers, though.
Arash Markazi of ESPN:
Jordan is absolutely worth a max contract.
Sure, he’s an awful free-throw shooter and doesn’t score much away from the rim. But he’s elite at creating basketball’s most-efficient shots (dunks) and grabbing offensive rebounding. Being great at one or two skills can be more important than being slightly above average at many. Plus, he’s a good, though overrated, defender.
Importantly, the Clippers can’t afford to let him leave. That’s why offering him the max from the jump is the correct strategy.
Will it be enough?
Jordan said he wouldn’t seek a one-year deal before the salary cap skyrockets in 2016, which limits the possibilities. Here are the projected max amounts he can receive from the Clippers (red) and another team (blue):
If Jordan signs a max deal elsewhere, he’ll be 30 when he next hits free agency. He probably can recoup some salary in 2019-20, though it’s far from a lock he’ll get nearly $25 million at that point.
Jordan would definitely be forgoing money and security by leaving. But if he wants to go, he wants to go.
Rivers is at least playing the most powerful card in his hand to convince Jordan to stay.