Scandal in Los Angeles
*Photo via USA Today
DeAndre Jordan’s spurning of the Dallas Mavericks should be shown on Broadway. This Hollywood drama had more twists and turns than an episode of the Bachelor. From Jordan’s emotional frustration boiling over with Los Angeles Clippers’ superstar Chris Paul, to the Clippers attempting to convince Jordan to come back to LA, then the emoji battle between Mavericks’ forward Chandler Parsons and multiple Clippers’ players, and finally with the supposed forced house arrest Jordan was under that ultimately kept Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban from meeting with him.
Of course, Jordan ultimately decided to sign a four-year, $87 million deal with the Clippers last week.
Now that this soap opera is seemingly over, the two teams involved are at two very different sides of the spectrum. While the Clippers remain a title contender for next year, the Mavericks lost their one chance at prosperity and now seem poised to go fishing in late April.
Doom in Dallas?
Dallas wasn’t going to be a championship contender even if they landed Jordan, but would they have been a playoff contender? Absolutely.
Now, with Jordan out of the picture the Mavericks will struggle to make the postseason (they’ve made the playoffs 14 out of the last 15 seasons). The top six in the Western Conference are extremely deep and those spots seem to be filled by the following teams (in no particular order): The San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and finally the Los Angeles Clippers.
Dallas will most likely be contending with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz among others for the final two playoff spots. On paper, they simply don’t have enough to contend with those teams.
They’ll be a much different team this year than last year as they lost three of five starters. Currently, their best player is probably Chandler Parsons. They made some interesting signings this offseason, but it’s doubtful that they’ll be enough to get Dallas into the playoffs.
The team’s biggest move from this offseason was signing Wes Matthews to a lucrative four year, $70 million dollar deal. Matthews is a solid two-way shooting guard, but is currently recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered last year, which makes this signing risky. Even though he doesn’t rely on his athleticism, there’s no telling what he’ll look like next year.
Dallas attempted to supplement the inability to attain Jordan by signing recently waived Deron Williams and trading for Zaza Pachulia.
Signing Williams isn’t a bad move, a new location could somewhat rejuvenate his career. But, he’s still on the wrong side of 30 and he hasn’t had a “D-Will” season since he left Utah. Pachulia is a “tough guy” down low but he isn’t the elite rim protector, finisher that Jordan is. But hey, he’s a career 74 percent free throw shooter Dallas fans!
To add insult to injury for Dallas’ franchise icon Dirk Nowitzki,who took a substantial discount last summer in order to hopefully compete for another championship. At 37 years of age, he doesn’t have many years left so he doesn’t have the good fortune of “waiting until next year”.
In terms of farther down the road, according to salary cap guru Bobby Marks, Dallas will have approximately $27 million in cap space for the 2016-17 season, so losing out on Jordan may hurt you in the short term, but they will have a plethora of space to fill up when that cap explodes to about $90 million.
What’s more, other than emotionally, losing out on Jordan shouldn’t hurt Dallas too much. It was a risky move giving a guy that much money, who in reality can’t score on his own. Giving all that money to Jordan wouldn’t have fixed the teams other issues: capable starting point guard and dreadful bench among other aspects.
I’m not sure what it took to get Jordan to change his mind, whether it was Chris Paul calling him to say “it’s not you it ‘s me, I’ll change I promise”, or maybe coach Doc Rivers’ daughter, Callie, promised him some back rubs after games. All I know is Clippers fans should be thrilled to have Jordan back.
As Zach Lowe stated on his podcast, The Lowe Post, Jordan going to Dallas meant a “net loss of one championship contender” out West. The Mavericks weren’t going to be a championship contender with the addition of Jordan, but the Clippers on the contrary remain an elite team with him.
Jordan’s role with the Clippers is perfect for him. He’s a menace in the pick and roll, and he gives the team a sense of relief down low with his ability to affect shots around the rim. If they lost out on him, the Clippers would’ve been forced to sign someone like JaVale McGee, and trust me, you don’t want that.
With the addition of veteran Paul Pierce, plus bench bolstering with guys like Lance Stephenson and Wes Johnson, the Clippers are primed for a deep run into the playoffs.
Remember, this team was up by 19 points with barely over a quarter to play from reaching the Western Conference Finals.
The game that I’m looking forward to the most next year is when the Clippers venture to Dallas to take on the Mavericks. I can’t wait for the first time DeAndre Jordan touches the ball in the low block. I’m sure Pachulia will be told by Cuban to “give him a warm welcome”.