It’s official: DeAndre Jordan has re-signed with Clippers; Mavericks are screwed

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We’ve known this was coming for hours, ever since Blake Griffin barricaded the door (that was a joke people):

DeAndre Jordan has officially re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, something the team announced on Twitter.

Or, fittingly today, if you prefer the news in emoji form, here it is complete with a new grade from J.J. Redick.

This is a four-year max deal for $87.7 million with an opt-out after three years, something first reported by Sam Amick of the USA Today. So, the argument this was about the money or security goes out the window, Jordan took the same deal Dallas was offering just with larger raises (but more state taxes).

Five days ago Jordan announced he had chosen the Dallas Mavericks over the Clippers and the reason was he felt wanted — the Clippers had taken him for granted, they didn’t feature him enough in the offense, and all the glory went to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Jordan felt CP3 dismissed him. Dallas promised him a larger role, showed him he was wanted, told him he would be featured.

But a few days later, Jordan — who was always torn on his choice — started to have buyer’s remorse. He let Doc Rivers and some Clippers players know that. He said (or at least the Clippers’ spin) he felt is agent Dan Fegan — who has an excellent relationship with Cuban — pushed him to Dallas. (Sources close to the agent deny this.)

With the NBA’s moratorium at the start of free agency — eight days where teams and players could negotiate but no binding deal can be signed — a desperate Clippers team had an opening.

The Clippers decided to make a push to get Jordan to change his mind, and it led to one of the wildest days of free agency ever. Rivers, owner Steve Ballmer, plus Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick and Paul Pierce flew to Houston to meet with Jordan. Mark Cuban and Chandler Parsons from the Mavs tried to get there too. There was a hysterical emoji travel showdown.

The Clippers got their meeting, Chris Paul was apparently very emotional and said he thought he and Jordan were brothers and he wanted to make any perceived slights right. But by then, Jordan had already made up his mind. He didn’t need much persuading. The Clippers players started playing cards and hanging out. There were video game contests.

But they wouldn’t leave until Jordan signed the papers. The Clippers stayed until midnight Eastern, and Jordan never even took a call or spoke to Cuban.

There is going to be a lot of fall out. There were a lot of signings agreed to, and deals made as a cascade effect of Jordan saying he would go to Dallas, and it’s not just Cuban who is an angry owner. Other teams did not like how this went down. Expect some push to change the moratorium system.

On the court, Dallas is screwed as they have no recourse to begin to fill in the role Jordan was to play, the top free agents are off the bord. They had Jordan and Wesley Matthews (who is still signing with the Mavs) but if they had not gotten those two free agents to come to Dallas, Cuban has said Dallas night have stripped it down and gone for the draft pick this year. Now, instead, they are a pretty good team, but in the West pretty good is first round and out. At best. More than likely the Mavs are in the lottery.

There is going to be a lot of hatred for the Clippers and Jordan, who went back on his word. The first game in Dallas is going to be a deafening set of boos. Jordan brought all of that on himself.

The Clippers do not care. They got their guy and with him they are legit title contenders. Chris Paul summed it up this way.

 

Report: Jonathan Kuminga, top prospect for 2021 NBA Draft, to earn $500K in NBA minor league

Jonathan Kuminga
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Jonathan Kuminga didn’t crack our list of the top 50 players in five years last summer, but he drew consideration and rated as the top prospect in the 2021 high school class.

Now, he’s fast-tracking his ascent – turning pro by signing with the NBA’s minor league and positioning himself for the 2021 NBA Draft.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Kuminga will join Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix in this professional-pathway program.

We’ll see how well this setup, run by Brian Shaw, prepares young players for the NBA. But the money is nice. Kuminga ($500,000), Green ($500,000), Todd ($250,000) and Nix ($300,000) have approximate salaries that wouldn’t be allowed by the NCAA cartel system.

Hopefully, the competition forces college basketball to treat its players more fairly.

Washington Mystics: We planned all along to pay Elena Delle Donne

Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne
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Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne – per a panel of doctors chosen by the WNBA and its union – doesn’t face elevated risk of severe symptoms if she contracts coronavirus. That meant the Mystics wouldn’t have to pay her if she sits out this season. Delle Donne has publicly argued her Lyme disease should have medically excused her from the WNBA season, allowing her to collect her full salary.

Like many people amid the pandemic, Delle Donne faced a hard decision: Work and risk exposure to coronavirus or miss out on money and stay safer.

The Mystics have solved her dilemma – agreeing to pay her while she remains away from the team.

Mystics general manager/coach Mike Thibault, via Tyler Byrum of NBC Sports Washington:

“She is being paid and is continuing to rehab from her offseason back surgery. If at some point later in the season, we are all comfortable – I mean all comfortable – enough with both her physical progress and the safety of joining the team in Florida, then we will make those arrangements. If we don’t feel that she will continue to do the workouts in D.C., and get herself ready for the following season.”

“We can do anything we want,” Thibault said. “We have intended to [pay her] from the start. She’s a major part of our team and she’s making every effort to do the rehab that she needs to do.”

“I have told her that there is not going to be pressure put on her to hurry back, I don’t want — I’m in this and she’s in this for the long haul,” Thibault said.

If the Mystics truly planned all along to pay Delle Donne, her public-relations campaign the last couple days seems excessive.

But it’s also possible the public pressure she raised contributed to this decision.

As reigning WNBA MVP, Delle Donne had leverage that other players don’t. That’s why I’m surprised this was up to the Mystics. Other WNBA teams don’t want to face increasing pressure to pay any players who want to sit out. That’s why the panel of doctors existed in the first place.

Perhaps, Delle Donne’s back injury gave Washington a workaround. That’s a reasonable excuse for Delle Donne not reporting while still getting paid. Is the WNBA really going to investigate the Mystics’ assessment of their own player’s physical health when the player agrees?

This is a good outcome for Delle Donne. She made herself so valuable to her employer that it’ll pay her not to work. That’s a heck of an accomplishment by her.

We’ll see how much, if any, of a precedent it sets.

Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox out at least 7-10 days with sprained ankle

De'Aaron Fox sprained ankle
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For a Sacramento team with playoff dreams, this is a punch to the gut: De'Aaron Fox is going to be sidelined until around the start of seeding games — 7-10 days at least — with a sprained ankle.

The Kings’ announced that their point guard sprained his left ankle in practice Wednesday. While he will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days, he could be out longer. This is the same ankle Fox sprained in November that caused him to miss 17 games.

The Kings’ first game is 16 days away against San Antonio.

Fox, arguably the fastest player in the league with the ball in his hands, averaged 20.4 points, and 6.8 assists this season, playing at a near All-star level once he came back from the sprained ankle. Fox is the engine of the Sacramento offense, it is 5.2 points per 100 possessions worse when he is off the court.

Sacramento comes into the restart in a virtual tie with Portland and New Orleans for the ninth seed in the West, 3.5 games back of Memphis. However, the Kings have not been able to get their stars on the court together: Harrison Barnes and Alex Len and remain in Sacramento, quarantining after testing positive for the coronavirus. Richaun Holmes is in quarantine on his Walt Disney World hotel room after leaving the confines of the NBA bubble to pick up a food delivery.

All of which combine to make it an even longer shot the Kings end their 14-year playoff drought this season. The sprained ankle for De’Aaron Fox, if it slows him at all, would be a serious blow to those chances.

 

Spurs: Trey Lyles out rest of season (appendectomy)

Spurs forward Trey Lyles
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The Spurs lost their top big in LaMarcus Aldridge.

Now, they’ll lose Trey Lyles, who often started at power forward next to Aldridge and also played behind Aldridge at center.

Spurs release:

Spurs forward Trey Lyles underwent an appendectomy earlier today in Orlando, Fla.

Lyles will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

San Antonio’s last seeding game is scheduled for Aug. 13 – nearly a month away. Theoretically, Lyles could have tried to return by then.

The NBA dodges a complication with the Spurs ruling him out for the rest of the season.

Lyles left the NBA’s campus for his surgery. (Disney World is in Lake Buena Vista. He underwent surgery in Orlando.) That means he faced exposure in Florida, where coronavirus cases are surging. It would have been tricky bringing him back into the bubble safely while not punishing him for requiring medical attention.

The NBA will probably face this conundrum with someone else later. But the league avoids that situation for now.

San Antonio’s problems are more pressing.

Jakob Poeltl is now the Spurs’ top center, but he fits poorly with DeMar DeRozan because they’re both non-shooters from 3-point range. Rudy Gay should see plenty of time at power forward.

Behind them, options – newly signed Tyler Zeller, Drew Eubanks, Chimezie Metu and Luka Samanic – are uninspiring.

Gregg Popovich truly must muster some magic for San Antonio to extend its record playoff streak.