It happened. It actually happened. A 26 year old professional sports player changed his mind about where he wanted to play. And like many before him, he decided that Dallas was not his best option after all. I am still struggling with how to process this. It's going to take a long time.
In the coming days and weeks, though, I want everyone to be on the lookout for the changing narrative that's coming. The Dallas Mavericks have a tight ship. Anything about what went down and how with DeAndre Jordan will come direct from Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, in that order. The quiet whispers will start on a national level, emanating almost entirely from Los Angeles.
It's already started. Earlier today Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that the Clippers believe Chandler Parsons is guilty of tampering:
Among the factors motivating the Clippers to make a last-minute push to reclaim their franchise center was a suspicion that the Mavs skirted tampering rules by having Chandler Parsons recruit Jordan in Houston and Los Angeles before he became a free agent on July 1, league sources said.
A wild guess here, but the "league sources" is probably a Clippers source. What we're seeing and what we're about to see is a disinformation campaign built entirely upon deflecting the narrative away from the fact that Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers violated the spirit of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and general business practices.
The Clippers are already getting ahead of themselves too, with one "long time GM" (which literally has to be Doc Rivers), telling David Aldridge "I have always said until someone is signed they aren't signed. To me verbal doesn't mean much." This quote could be from college football, where this sort of stuff happens with alarming regularity, but in basketball, it's just not true.
The notion that Chandler Parsons "tampered" is understandable. He was accused of something similar in 2013 when recruiting Dwight Howard to Houston from the Lakers. But does the league really want to head down this path? Stories will start to come out of the woodwork if any tamper charges are actually applied because what is and isn't considered tampering is impossible to legislate. Telling grown adults on different teams who are also friends not to speak is absurd.
But I also have a really bad feeling that we might see more un-sourced stories about what Dallas did wrong in the process. Things related to how Rick Carlisle, Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and everyone involved sold the role to DeAndre. I think we may start to see whispers about DeAndre "feeling lied to" and other unsubstantiated things that will serve only to tarnish Dallas while deflecting away from the Clippers.
I hope I'm wrong here. I'd rather this just get chalked up to a young guy who changed his mind about a life altering decision. The Clippers may have violated some "unwritten rules" but they did what they had to to get DeAndre on their team. I can live with that. What I can't handle is the notion that the Mavericks did anything wrong in this situation, because they didn't.