One of the worst kept league secrets took a step towards reality this evening, as DeAndre Jordan opted out of his $24.1 million option and will instead become an unrestricted free agent, as Adrian Wojnarowski reports:
Although reports earlier in the day questioned whether Jordan would opt out or not, as he may struggle to make the same amount of the money in the open market, it seems almost certain now that he will jersey up for a new team in the 2018/19 season. And now all eyes turn to the Dallas Mavericks, who failed to sign Jordan in 2015 after securing a verbal agreement with the Center.
The Texas native is coming off career highs in rebounds (15.2 - second in the NBA last season), assists and free throw percentage, however many question whether the way in which the league has evolved has left players like himself in the dust, who, whilst solid defenders and elite athletes, provide little on the offensive end other than dunks and offensive rebounds, and don't possess the shooting ability necessary to stretch the floor.
The Mavericks have the cap space to bring Jordan in, and with a plethora of other talents to take on the scoring load, ( from Dennis Smith Jr to Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes; plus the newly drafted Euro-Star in Luka Doncic), perhaps a player of Jordan's skill-set is exactly what the Mavs need to ascend back to relevancy in the Western Conference. Having not won a playoff series since they lifted the title in 2011, constructing a team that could compete in the playoffs in the coming years is crucial. Adding another vet to the growing blend of young and older talents could be the next step.
For the Clippers, this helps their rebuilding phase, as they are rid of another major contract, after trading away Blake Griffin's and his 5 year/$171 million dollar deal only months after giving it to him. The Clippers have no major deals signed past next season other than Danilo Gallinari, and could have space for two max players in 2019. One of the players seemingly on radar is Kawhi Leonard, who, whilst many tip to be Lakers bound, has reportedly expressed a willingness to play for the Clippers in order to move back home to LA. If the Lakers are unable to broker a deal with the Spurs, or if they use their cap space to bring in both LeBron and Paul George, little would stand in the Clippers way in bringing a new star to their franchise to build around. Once again, the Midas touch of Jerry West, who facilitated the Shaq and Kobe era, as well as the rise of the Warriors, could be working it's magic at yet another franchise.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out for both sides. Things are hotting up for sure.
Do you think a Center like DeAndre Jordan still has a place in the league? Discuss in the comments below!