At the tail-end of the NBA’s free agency period, DeAndre Jordan created the biggest mess of the summer.
After reportedly agreeing to a four-year, $US80 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks, on the eve of the NBA’s official signing period Jordan had second thoughts and held a meeting with the Clippers to discuss re-signing.
It created an all-out recruiting war, with both Mavs and Clippers coaches, players, and owners travelling to Houston to convince Jordan to sign with them.
Jordan froze out the Mavs and his agent while he met with the Clippers at his home, eventually deciding to re-sign with L.A. for a reported five years, $US88 million.
For the Mavericks, this is a total disaster. After a free agency that saw them land Jordan and Wesley Matthews, the Mavericks looked like fringe contenders in the Western Conference.
Instead, the Mavs lost their biggest signing, but it’s just one part of a bigger ripple effect.
In chasing Jordan, the Mavericks let go of Tyson Chandler, a valuable center who has a similar skill set as Jordan’s but is a few years older. Jordan would have been an upgrade, but without him, the Mavs have a giant hole at center.
The Mavs have salary cap space again now that Jordan is out, but most of the NBA’s top free agents have already agreed to contracts with teams. Omer Asik got $US60 million from the Pelicans, Robin Lopez got $US54 million from the Knicks, Chandler got $US52 million from the Suns, and Kosta Koufos got $US33 million from the Kings.
Additionally, the Wesley Matthews signing looks riskier by the moment. Matthews was one of the top wing players the last two seasons, but tore his achilles last season. Though Matthews is reportedly already on his feet, practicing on his own, achilles tears have been historically harmful to players’ careers.
The Mavericks traded backup center Brandan Wright last year for Rajon Rondo, along with their 2016 first-round pick (top-seven protected). For a team that now looks like they will miss the playoffs, they might not have a draft pick as a reward for their losing, and it would be unwise to trade future picks for a player now when they might be entering a rebuilding mode when those picks become more valuable.
The Mavericks couldn’t have seen this coming so they can’t be faulted for being iced out by Jordan at the last second. Nonetheless, they fall from an intriguing playoff contender to a shallow team without backup options.
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