Earlier today, the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks began discussing a possible trade involving DeAndre Jordan. The Mavs supposedly wanted to trade their veteran shooting guard Wesley Matthews straight up for Jordan. The Clippers, according to Marc Stein, are “resistant to taking Wes Matthews back in a trade.”
From the point of view of the Clippers, this makes sense. Why would you want to take on an aging Wesley Matthews who only averaged 12.7 PPG and a couple of rebounds and assists on a 24 win team? Not to mention they would have to pay him $17.5 million dollars next season before he would become a free agent. What the Clippers ultimately want is something of value in return if they were to sign-and-trade Jordan. They see Wesley Matthews as a cap-eater that would take their team back a step. The question is: Is he better than nothing in return at all?
From the Mavericks point of view, they have 2 different plans. Plan A would be to have Jordan opt into his $24.1 million player option, and be traded to the Mavericks for Wesley Matthews. The Mavericks are basically saying, “either you take Wesley Matthews or Jordan opts out of his contract and you get nothing back”. Essentially, it’s a take or leave it ultimatum. The Mavericks are hoping that the Clippers bite the bullet and take Wesley Matthews, as they are unlikely to get any better offer for Jordan from any other team. This plan also allows the Mavericks to have around $20 million in cap room to go spend on a player like Marcus Smart in free agency and re-sign Doug McDermott and Seth Curry.
Plan B would only be put into action if the Clippers refuse to trade with the Mavericks, and DeAndre opts out of his contract. The Mavericks would then spend the majority of their cap space to sign Jordan to a deal for around $20 million over 3 years. This, of course, would prevent the Mavericks from having any sort of flexibility in free agency to go out and grab a free agent. Thus, they would rather take Plan A, where they get DeAndre Jordan and cap space.
However, financially it makes more sense for Jordan to opt into his $24.1 million contract for next season. He has the leverage because it’s his decision. If he opts in, the Clippers have to trade him and they aren’t going to get much back for him because the teams with the room for him don’t have assets to trade for him.
Frankly, the Mavericks are the only team in free agency who have the cap space and are willing to spend it on DeAndre Jordan. At 30 years old and with the state of the current market, Jordan would not get near $24.1 million. Enes Kanter, a center for the New York Knicks, averaged 14 PPG and 11 RPG and is 26 years old, and he opted into his $18.6 million contract because of the state of the market. It would be very surprising if Jordan opted out of his deal, as he would get less money and could hinder Dallas’ ability to go out and spend $20 million in a free agent market where most teams don’t have much cap space.
Jordan and his fellow players that are deciding whether or not to opt into their player contracts have until 11:59 PM EST on Friday, June 29 to make their decision.