Twenty-four hours ago, free agency was all but wrapped up. Suddenly, DeAndre Jordan is reconsidering his decision, meeting with the Mavericks and the Clippers in Houston, and may sign with Los Angeles on Thursday.
This is absolutely craziness. Stuff like this doesn't happen in the NBA, not at this magnitude. Emojis were being thrown around Twitter and players not even involved in the madness were hopping on board.
The last we know, the Clippers have brought more than half a dozen players and owners to sway Jordan while the Mavericks have Mark Cuban in Houston and Chandler Parsons on his way. Here's an explainer as to what the eff is happening right now.
Didn't DeAndre already sign with the Mavericks?
No. He verbally agreed to sign a contract with the Mavericks once the league's free agency moratorium ends on July 9. The NBA has had a period between when the season ends and when free agency officially begins so league accountants can calculate the NBA salary cap. However, this explanation doesn't make a lot of sense on its face and if this fiasco goes through, expect the NBA to make a change to that. Unfortunately for Dallas, the verbal agreement is not binding, unless the Mavericks and Mark Cuban want to get the lawyers involved. If that happens, this situation could get ugly very quickly.
Does this type of thing happen often?
Certainly not on this scale. Jason Kidd did this to Dallas a few years ago before signing in New York and Hedo Turkoglou did it to the Portland Trail Blazers years, too. This is a really, horribly bad precedent if DeAndre does decide to go to the Clippers. It has the potential to cause a massive firestorm.
Why are the Clippers making this push now?
They seem to have been caught completely off guard by the Dallas push. It seems they were not prepared to deal with a team actually wanting his services. As a result, they've been scrambling to put together an actual pitch as opposed to their very formal, somewhat bland proposal during last week. Without DeAndre, their team seriously stumbles, as Blake Griffin becomes the tallest player under contract. Jordan coming to Dallas is their "sum of all fears" scenario. This is all incredibly unprofessional by the Clippers as well, as traditionally a verbal agreement is treated the same as a written one by NBA teams.
Why is DeAndre concerned about the fit?
The thing about verbally agreeing to sign and possibly reneging is that Jordan now has read, listened to and seen backlash and reactions to his decision for several days. Many people are expressing doubt that the Jordan will be able to thrive without a superstar point guard like Chris Paul, something we strongly disagree with, but it's definitely out there. Others have laughed at the Mavericks saying they'd give Jordan touches in the post, as if it was all a fraud to get him to sign. While it's possible the Mavericks exaggerated that part slightly, they clearly do plan to make him a larger part of the offense if he does sign.
What do the Mavericks do if DeAndre changes his mind?
The Mavericks are in trouble. There's no other way to put it. The only thing left is to hope to put a roster together that's halfway decent, like getting Samuel Dalembert back in a Mavs uniform. Darrell Arthur is another guy Dallas could consider to put some depth around Dirk Nowitzki, and don't forget Jermaine O'Neal and the possibility of an NBA comeback, as well as Amar'e Stoudemire. The Mavs could also look at more wing depth, more notably like Gerald Green and Michael Beasley. But in general, free agency is picked thin. Players who Dallas may have signed if DeAndre chose the Clippers originally have now already chosen new teams.
After getting DeAndre to agree, Cuban said the Mavericks were going to tank if they didn't get him. Cuban clearly wasn't joking, but if Jordan does bail, will he live up to his word?