It's become something of an annual cycle for Mavericks fans--watch the season end prematurely, then convince themselves against their better judgment that the team might sign a top tier free agent in the offseason. This year with a free agent headlined multiple star big men, those attentions have focused on names like Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan.
A report Monday of a rift between Clippers point guard Chris Paul and Jordan may add to the hopes of Dallas fans who would like to see the NBA's leading rebounder two years running in Mavericks blue. Bill Reiter of Fox Sports wrote that tensions between Paul and Jordan might lead the 24-year-old center to leave the team in free agency.
It's certainly not a sure thing that Jordan leaves. But the Clippers do not enjoy the home-court advantage they should have in Jordan's free agency. Paul is apparently as talented at making his teammates better as he is surprisingly capable of getting on their nerves.
Such an outcome wouldn't be unfamiliar with Los Angeles media and fans. Kobe Bryant has received a fair amount of blame for Dwight Howard's decision to leave for Houston in free agency. Reports about his interactions with teammates described something similar to the tension between Paul and Jordan as well as Blake Griffin.
But it's probably premature to think these issues are going to mean Jordan signs elsewhere. Paul and Griffin's apparent on court beef was widely remarked upon this season but didn't stop the team from knocking off the defending champs. And conflicts between the veteran point guard and the Clippers' young big men have been discussed going back to 2013.
The biggest problem plaguing Los Angeles this postseason, after all, wasn't chemistry between it's star players. It was the lack of depth that became more and more apparent during two seven-game series.