There’s not a whole lot DeAndre Jordan can do, but that’s not stopping from the Los Angeles Clippers thinking about giving him the max contract to keep him on the team, or the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers from trying to lure him away, although the team most likely to sign him are the Dallas Mavericks.
The thing about the Clippers and Jordan, who has been playing for them since 2008 and starting since 2010, is that it might be better for them if he bolts. Not that Steve Ballmer seems like an owner who minds about paying the luxury tax, and yet having Chris Paul and Blake Griffin getting paid so much might be enough. They are already limited in terms of free agency and cap maneuverability. Add Jordan to that with a long term deal and things might be very difficult in the future.
The Lakers and Knicks, two teams that need a center (and pretty much everything except for one or two spots), seems like a diversion. Jordan likes playing for the Clippers and has been integral in their success but also their failures. A great inside presence on both ends of the floor, but someone with a very small variety of shots (basically just dunks, layups and putbacks) who has no range and shot 39.7% from the line last season, pushing teams to deploy a hack-a-Jordan strategy.
The Mavericks? They’ve been the team most interested in adding him to the mix all along, even before the playoffs were over. Tyson Chandler did well for the team last season, but he has been struggling with some of his defensive duties against the better big men in the league, and overall the Mavs think that adding Jordan, even at the salary he’s looking for, will give them a bigger edge than with Chandler.
Jordan getting such a large number of offers speaks volumes for the situation in the NBA. On one hand, there’s the small ball movement which we saw dominate in the finals, but the Warriors did rely a lot on Andrew Bogut during the season. Teams still value more than anything having a big man they can trust, even if he’s far from perfect. Jordan, a very far from perfect player with a very specific set of skills, shows that being big and mostly effective is still the best way to get paid in the NBA.