- For a team with ample cap space and a desperate need at center, the Mavs could have done a lot worse.
Three years after one of the strangest free agent sagas of all time, DeAndre Jordan will join the Dallas Mavericks. With no faux-hostage situation, Jordan’s signing with the Mavs feels a little anticlimactic this time. Nonetheless, Dallas is adding a much-needed boost to its frontline with the former Clippers center, who agreed to a one-year deal somewhere close to $24.1 million. The Mavs had a glaring hole at the five, and Jordan should slot in very nicely as a starter. Jordan, who spent the first 10 seasons of his career in L.A., averaged 12 points and 15.2 rebounds per game for the Clips last season, playing in 77 games. With this year’s verbal agreement apparently more binding than the one Jordan made in 2015, let’s grade the signing for Dallas.
For many years, Jordan was one of the most reliable and consistent players at his position. He’s basically a walking double-double with the ability to be one of the best rim protectors in the league. However, the Clippers were actually worse defensively with Jordan playing last season, and as a whole the team performed better with DJ on the bench. With that sign of slippage in mind, the Mavs are still acquiring a player who should still be in his prime and work well with the rest of the roster. Jordan provides a willing pick-and-roll partner for Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Doncic, and he can provide elite backline defense for stretches to cover for their mistakes. Signing Jordan to a one-year deal basically amounts to Dallas acquiring him in a trade without giving up any assets. Jordan can still seek a bigger payout next summer, while the Mavs won’t be tied up paying Jordan in the future if they realize he doesn’t quite fit in the modern NBA. Dallas is clearly trying to improve next season, but the front office isn’t quite building a contender either. In that case, the Jordan signing makes a lot of sense. He should help the team be respectable, and hopefully prevent the younger players from being exposed to a completely lost season. For a team with ample cap space and a desperate need at center, the Mavs could have done a lot worse.