The Los Angeles Clippers are still in the playoffs, but maybe not for long, and the Dallas Mavericks are already eyeing DeAndre Jordan as they start preparing for next season.
The Mavericks, knocked out of the playoffs in five games after losing to the Houston Rockets, have plenty of cap space and also a lot of spots to fill in their roster, including center, although there’s always the option of re-signing Tyson Chandler, but his age and wear & tear clearly showed in the series against Houston and in most of his encounters with the top big men in the league over the last couple of years.
In Jordan, they have a very known quantity. Someone with no shooting and immense free throw problems (39.7% from the line this season). But he’s also vastly improving defensively (Defensive rating of 98 these last couple of seasons), averaging 3.3 blocks and 1.5 steals. He’s getting better off the pick and rolls, not to mention a superb rebounder. Not just his 15 per game (best in the NBA this season), but also leading the league in rebounding percentage defensively.
But is Jordan worth a maximum contract, which he will be trying to get, after making $11 million last season? Jordan is an almost guaranteed two points when he gets the ball near the rim and isn’t fouled, but is almost useless offensively in every other way. Those high flying, impossible to stop alley oop dunks in transition are beautiful to watch, but they don’t happen in the half court.
If the Mavericks were a little bit more certain in how they were going to look next season, maybe it’s worth taking the risk. But with almost every player on the team hitting free agency, giving so much to a limited big man with painful flaws just might limit their ability to compete next season and fulfill their aspirations of contending for the title or even getting out of the first round.
Hey, but what about the Clippers, and Jordan’s desires himself? Well, a number of reports suggest Jordan is interested in joining the Mavericks, but there’s a long way from here until making a decision, and a lot hangs on how far the Clippers get in the playoffs this year, if they survive the series with the Spurs at all.