Now that the dust has settled and the hindsight is once again 20/20, the DeAndre Jordan Saga (Debacle, Charade, or whatever else you want to call it) wasn’t pretty…for anyone involved. At the end of the day, everyone looks worse because of it.
Let’s recap quickly: DeAndre Jordan decides to join the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Clippers freak out and fly down to his house in Houston refusing to leave until he changes his mind, he realizes he made a huge mistake, and now Clippers fans don’t have to throw away their DJ6 jerseys.
That’s the shorthand version. But when you start to dig, there was a little more drama and craziness involved. The end result was just a big mess that should embarrass everyone.
Jordan, of course, is at the center of the mess, and his leaving renders Dallas…well, centerless. The big man committed to the Mavs on July 3, only to change his mind five days later on the 8. Although Jordan should have never been pushed to the Mavs in the first place, once he committed, he should have honored it.
For those eight days, the Mavericks planned to have Jordan, one of the top centers in the game right now, on their roster for the season. Why does this matter? Because they didn’t, as a result of acquiring Jordan, feel the need to really chase after Marc Gasol, Robin Lopez, Roy Hibbert, or any other available big men in free agency. They found their guy early—or so they thought.
The real enemy here shouldn’t be Jordan, however—Dan Fegan, Jordan’s agent, deserves the largest serving of criticism.
To make a long story short, Fegan and Mavs owner Mark Cuban are buddies. Fegan wanted to help his billionaire friend out, so he pushed Jordan out of L.A. Well, Jordan realized this soon after, and needless to say he was pissed. Agents are supposed to do what’s best for their players, not whatever they can to help out a friend.
This revelation for Jordan was when he came to see that he had made a mistake, and it was also the reason that Jordan wouldn’t talk to Fegan on Wednesday during the Clipper Invasion of his home and why one of Fegan’s underlings was present at the contract signing.
Once again, that’s just not what an agent is supposed to do. Jordan loves the Clippers, he knows he will be successful there, and the Clips are able to offer more money than the Mavs. Why on earth would you want to move your client away from this?
Honestly, I’m a little surprised Jordan hasn’t fired him yet. And once Jordan does so, Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins may follow suit. The last thing they want is their agent trying to push them somewhere that they either don’t want to go or won’t be as successful.
The Clippers should obviously be embarrassed by the whole situation as well. They barricaded Jordan in his house till he agreed to come back. Like c’mon man. I understand his agent tried to screw him over and everything but you can’t go around basically holding people hostage till they agree to play with you. The original meeting with Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer, and Jordan was pushing it; but the house situation was just silly.
The end result of the whole saga: a change in NBA policy. Nothing has been announced yet, but it can’t be far off. The league needs to do something about the moratorium period in which players can enter into non-binding verbal agreements but not sign contracts. If Jordan’s commitment was settled and signed on July 3, none of the other shenanigans would have actually taken place.
Obviously, Jordan had a legitimate change of heart, and his agent should never have pushed him to Dallas without his full commitment mentally; but think of the huge opportunity cost he was for the Mavs who missed out on everyone else as a result. The way the rules are set up now, a superstar could “commit” to another team; and then leave before actually signing anything, essentially ruining their offseason.
At the end of the day, I’m glad DeAndre Jordan is back in Los Angeles. All his friends are there, he fits in well with the offense, and he keeps the team a legitimate contender every season. Unfortunately, what happened to the Mavs as a result is more a failure of policy than anything.
Your move, Adam Silver.