DeAndre Jordan explained his decision to spurn the Dallas Mavericks and re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, which was a move that defined the NBA's off-season.
It has been 11 days since DeAndre Jordan decided to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers on a four-year, $80 million deal and in turn leave the Dallas Mavericks' off-season hanging in the balance. Jordan apologized to the Mavericks on Twitter on July 10, but had yet to make any public comments regarding his commitment and then de-commitment from signing with Dallas.
That all changed Monday night.
Jordan, in a Players' Tribune post, explained his decision that shook up free agency and sparked the discussion that the NBA needed to change its moratorium period. The center, one of SI.com's top 25 free agents, originally decided to sign with the Mavs on July 3. In Dallas, he had the opportunity for a featured offensive role not available to him playing behind Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in Los Angeles. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban referred to him as 'Shaq-like,' but ultimately it wasn't enough.
“I thought I needed change. I thought I wanted change at that time. They had a great presentation. They have a great owner, a great coach, a championship team, but at the same time I feel like I didn't give it all of my thought,” Jordan said of the Mavericks. “At the end of the day, we're basketball players. These great athletes, but we are also human. We make mistakes. We have emotions and feelings just like everybody else."
The draw of staying in L.A., a city he's played in since the Clippers drafted him 35th overall in 2008, was too strong. Jordan averaged a career high 11.5 points and 15 rebounds per game last season. He earned All-Defensive first team honors for 2014-15 as well.
Paul referred to Jordan as his 'big little brother' in a recent interview with ESPN.
“I've been with this team for seven years. Being on one team my entire career was definitely important to me. I've been here since I was 19, so this is what I know,” Jordan said. “I love this city. I love the fans. I love my teammates, and I love my organization.”
Griffin outlined the final hours of the Jordan ordeal that played out in an emoji battle on Twitter, and included rumors of Cuban driving aimlessly around Houston in a separate post on the Players' Tribune as well.
Holed up in Jordan's Houston home, the Clippers contingent of Griffin, Paul, J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce, Steve Ballmer and Doc Rivers, among others, passed the time reportedly playing cards, watching basketball and eating Raising Cane's chicken until 12:01 a.m. ET when Jordan could officially re-sign with the Clippers.
Griffin wrote that once the Clippers arrived back at LAX, he noticed that Jordan 'seemed happy for the first time in a while.'