The Los Angeles Clippers turned in one moment from NBA championship contenders to a team in flux due to losing DeAndre Jordan in free agency. The center surprised his own team and everyone else by choosing the Dallas Mavericks, but it might have had a lot to do with Chris Paul and the two’s failed relationship.
Paul, the leader and best player of the Clippers, didn’t treat Jordan the same way as he did others. Maybe he thought Jordan didn’t take certain things seriously enough. Like working on his free throws, or practice in general. But Jordan didn’t reach the point he is in now after being a second round pick just by cruising through games and practice. He might be a bit more lenient and fun loving than others, but it’s not like he completely relies on physical skill and slacks off the rest of the time.
The funniest-weirdest version of this focuses on Paul giving high-fives to the three other players on the court while ignoring Jordan, not to mention constantly yelling, barking and making foolish gestures at him. While Jordan got along well enough with others on the team including his head coach, the situation in Dallas seemed to suit him a lot more.
Is this just mere invention and imagination? It’s been going on for quite a while, and there has to be something that pushed Jordan away from the Clippers when staying would have meant a lot more money than what he’s getting from the Mavericks, which isn’t too shabby at four years and $80 million. He would have made $109 million over five years had he stayed in Los Angeles.
This isn’t the first time Chris Paul makes someone leave. He got Vinny Del Negro fired although Paul wasn’t too happy with word spreading that it was him who pushed for the dismissal. Paul, usually considered the league’s best point guard, is often blamed for some late-game gaffes by the Clippers for trying to do too much and putting himself in bad situations. Now there’s something new to blame him with.
However, if things were this bad between Paul and Jordan, maybe it’s good they’re no longer playing on the same team. Still, finding a center now for the Clippers is a very difficult task considering the market is depleted of the impact players.