It all starts with DeAndre Jordan.
Chandler Parsons isn’t on a plane to Houston, J.J. Redick isn’t in a car, Blake Griffin isn’t in a helicopter, Chris Paul doesn’t have to hop off the banana boat if DJ doesn’t first open the door and invite Doc Rivers to walk through it. Jordan had made a verbal commitment to the Mavericks for a max deal but has had second thoughts. He reached out to the Clippers and — because they have no good alternative if he did leave — Doc Rivers and company pounced.
Which is why the Clippers players are confident that Jordan will be back.
That is the sense around the league — you don’t take the meeting if you’re not pretty far down the road in your own head. Multiple media members have tweeted out the same sentiment, saying Clipper players feel pretty good about their chances.
The Clippers are bringing owner Steve Balmer, coach Rivers, Griffin, Paul, Redick and Paul Pierce to the meeting. They come into that meeting with an advantage — they now know exactly what Jordan wants to hear. It became clear after the verbal agreement with Dallas was reached that Jordan was unhappy with his level of recognition, that he wanted a bigger role in the offense, that he wanted Paul to tone down the “motivational tactics” and embrace him as a star. The Clippers can go into that meeting and say exactly what he wants to hear.
Tonight the Mavericks will get another face-to-face meeting where Mark Cuban, Chandler Parsons, and others will get a chance to keep the man they thought was their new anchor in the middle.
This story is changing by the minute, and there has never been anything quite like it.