Earlier today, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that DeAndre Jordan is considering exercising his $24.1 million player option with the Los Angeles Clippers with the intention of being traded. The Dallas Mavericks are rumored to be his preferred destination.
However, Maverick fans and possibly even their ownership would seem to be hesitant to bring in the star center. The 2015 free agency fiasco filled with passive-aggressive emojis sent between Mavericks and Clippers players seems like it would get in the way.
The Clippers notoriously locked Jordan inside of a house to prevent him from signing a deal he had agreed to sign with the Mavericks during the free agency moratorium period as it came to a close. After Jordan went against his word and re-signed with the Clippers, Maverick fans were especially infuriated. I remember being at the first game that Jordan played in Dallas after the incident, and Mavericks fans violently booed him anytime he had the ball in his hands. In many ways, it set the Mavericks back a few years as they have only managed to make the playoffs once and have lost 60% of their games since.
After a successful two years of building a young roster to build around, the team has one apparent hole: a center. Salah Mejri is not a starting center and Nerlens Noel has been an utter disappointment after sitting out most of the previous season and underperforming. Time has healed the wounds of the 2015 disaster. The Mavericks and their fans should be ready to forgive DeAndre Jordan because is exactly what they need to propel forward.
Jordan averaged 12.0 PPG and 15.2 RPG last season and, as always, was an exceptional rim-protector which doesn’t always show up in the box score. The Mavs would put him in a Tyson Chandler type of role where he would serve as a defensive anchor, rebounder, and lob threat on the offensive end.
With the addition of Luka Doncic, the Mavericks have an opportunity to grab DeAndre Jordan and put forth a lineup that’s much better than what the Mavericks had even back in 2015. This time around, DeAndre would have even better players around him that can give him easy dunks. Doncic was known to be an incredible passer in Europe and the Mavericks have already seen how Dennis Smith Jr. can find big men under the rim by attracting so much attention on his drives to the rim. Jordan, as he was with Chris Paul, excels when he plays with a dynamic guard who can finish at the rim and are exceptional passers. In addition, having DeAndre Jordan rolling to the rim spreads the floor out for open shooters, making it easier for players like Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes to get great looks from the three-point line.
A lineup with Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki and DeAndre Jordan could compete for a playoff spot. Making amends with DeAndre would give them the center they so desperately need, and put the Mavericks in a position to step forward and out of their rebuild.