DeAndre Jordan gave the Dallas Mavericks his word. Then he gave the Los Angeles Clippers his signature. Could his change of heart spark other changes in the NBA? (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Something captured Los Angeles’ attention, and for once the drama did not surround anything related to the Lakers.
It all centered on DeAndre Jordan, who determined not everything is bigger in Texas. After providing a verbal commitment last Friday to leave the Clippers for the Dallas Mavericks, Jordan reached out to Clippers coach Doc Rivers a few days later. But instead of offering his goodbyes, Jordan extended an olive branch, suggesting to Rivers he harbored doubts about his decision.
Then, the Clippers furiously flew out on Wednesday to Jordan’s residence in Houston in one last pitch to salvage their star center. Soon enough, a stream of emojis emerged on Twitter. Mavericks guard Chandler Parsons tweeted one of a plane. Clippers forward Blake Griffin tweeted several of a plane, helicopter and car. Clippers guard Chris Paul tweeted an emoji of a banana boat, the same mode of transportation he used in a recent vacation in the Bahamas. Even Lakers guard Kobe Bryant participated in on the fun, tweeting out all five trophies to represent the NBA championships he won.
Soon enough, breathless reports emerged about the Clippers staying at Jordan’s house, while the Mavericks made several unsuccessful attempts to reach him. Shortly after the NBA moratorium ended at 9:00 PDT on Wednesday, Jordan signed a four-year deal worth $87.6 million to stay with the Clippers.
As Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak mused, “the social media affect turned it into somewhat of a soap opera from the moment you woke up [on Wednesday] until the moment you went to bed.”
Kupchak had other things to worry about that day, ranging from Summer League practices and finalizing free agent deals. Yet, Kupchak acknowledged “it became a bit unsettling” on the possibility Dallas could swoop in at the last minute and pursue Roy Hibbert after losing a center. The Lakers acquired Hibbert last week in a trade from Indiana for a second-round pick. But since players could not sign contracts until the NBA moratorium ended on July 9, any player technically remained available.
Yet, Kupchak offered sympathy for Jordan, who had turned down both the Lakers and the Knicks shortly after meeting with them.
“I want nothing but the best for DeAndre Jordan,” Kupchak said. “If he felt that he didn’t make the right decision, the rules that are presently set up allow for him or provide for him to change his mind.”