There are a lot of people walking around with sour grapes in their mouths today. To get to the point, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Mavericks fans are probably somewhere blowing a gasket. They have a pretty good argument to do so.
But that’s nothing compared to the ugly aftermath that would have swallowed up Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers if center DeAndre Jordan had permanently kissed off the City of Angels.
One team got dropped off the curb like a bad habit. Another team saved faced. The Mavericks probably feel like they were hoodkwinked. The Clippers are just counting their lucky stars. One team now face uncertain mediocrity for years to come. Another team retains its elite status. Such is the way of life in the wars of free agency and basketball.
The Clippers are reaping the reward of having retained Jordan, their all-world, defensive center. The Mavericks won’t be doing much but kicking up dust the next few years. Just a week ago, Cuban and the Mavericks assumed they had the keys to Jordan’s heart.
Just last week, the Mavericks thought they were on the cusp of reloading their franchise for the future when Jordan bought into the sway of Cuban and the idea of being “the guy.”
Throw in a 4-year, $80 million contract, and Jordan was bought, sold and delivered. So Cuban and the Mavericks thought. A funny thing happened on the way to the Mavericks tooting their own horns about being relevant again in the Western Conference. Jordan had a change of heart.
The quick high of being wined and dined faded. Reality checked in for Jordan. Maybe playing in Los Angeles for the Clippers wasn’t so bad after all?
Going from being the third wheel to “the guy” means extra ordinary attention, scrutiny and pressure to deliver. It’s a pretty good deal to have Chris Paul, Blake Griffin on your side. The last time I checked, two outnumber one any day of the week. That’s difference between the Clippers and the Mavericks.
The Clippers have two NBA All-Stars in Paul and Griffin. Dallas has a fading all-star in Dirk Nowitzki. Drop in the fact that Jordan, had he gone to Dallas, would had been part of a mediocre team for the duration of his contract. Why would he want to do that?
In reality, playing for the Clippers was the best choice for Jordan to make. The Clippers are in position to win-now.
As far as Jordan changing his mind and vacating his verbal commitment to Cuban and the Mavericks…people do it all the time. Jordan made a business decision. Cuban, of all people, should understand and respect that regardless of the outcome of this current situation. The business world is full of people making deals verbally before backing off.
Cuban and the Mavericks assumed they had Jordan locked, stock and barrel. Cuban and the Mavericks assumed wrong. Rivers and his posse of players, including Paul, Griffin and J.J. Redick, went to work in the 11th hour to make sure Jordan came back home. Cuban and the Mavericks stood by, bellyached and couldn’t do a thing about it.
Instead of the Clippers wishing on a star for the upcoming NBA season in regards to the type of talent they will have on the floor, they’re going to be playing, “Go, DJ! That’s my DJ!” on the Staples Center speaker system. On the other hand, Cuban and the Mavericks got the door slammed in their faces with a “Don’t come back again!” sign posted to their backside.
There are a lot of announcers and media people who didn’t like the way Jordan handled the situation because he wouldn’t call Cuban back after the Clippers’ brass made their last-minute pitch to keep him. Of course, Cuban and the Mavericks and their fan base are ticked. But what I would say to those people, “Cool beans.”
Jordan was in the middle of a making a potential, life-altering decision. Like it or not, he called his shot. He should not have to apologize to anyone for the decision he made and how he did it. That would be his prerogative.