The fallout from DeAndre Jordan’s decision to spurn the Dallas Mavericks and stay with the Los Angeles Clippers continued reverberating through the NBA on Thursday, the first day that teams and players could officially do business in the new league year.
In Dallas, owner Mark Cuban was predictably unhappy. And at least two general managers who weren’t involved in the saga wonder if Jordan’s turnabout will spark league-wide change in how the offseason moratorium — and really, free-agent talks in general — get handled going forward.
"It’s a weird way to do business where agents will tell you we’ve signed a guy and we can’t comment," Brooklyn GM Billy King said Thursday. "And so I think from both sides I think everybody realizes it’s something that has to be looked at."
Added Orlando GM Rob Hennigan: "The rules have been the rules for a while now. I don’t think this is the first time that something like this has happened. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be looked at."
How the Jordan saga played out is certain to be a hot topic at NBA meetings in Las Vegas next week. The NBA has not commented on the Jordan matter, but the National Basketball Players Association said it fully supports the right of both players and teams to consider their options during the annual moratorium.
"We all walk into these conversations understanding that as with any business contract, it’s not a deal until the paper is signed," union spokeswoman Tara Greco said.
Cuban spoke out Thursday via social media, his first public comments since the dramatic change of events.
"I don’t think the time is right to say anything beyond the facts that he never responded to me at all yesterday," Cuban wrote on the Cyber Dust messaging app. "Not once. To this minute I have not heard anything from him since Tuesday night."
The Dallas owner addressed the message to Mavs fans. He did not mention Jordan by name, though it was obvious to what he was referring.
Cuban also said he will eventually have more to say about what transpired on Wednesday, when a group of Clippers traveled to Jordan’s home in an apparent last-ditch push to re-sign him.
"I thought I had a good pump fake," Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons wrote on Twitter, another thinly veiled reference to Jordan changing his mind and spurning the Mavericks.
Shane Larkin, who signed with the Nets as a free agent on Thursday and spent his rookie season in Dallas, said it’s a difficult situation to talk about. On one hand, he was happy for Jordan to be able to go where he wanted, and on the other he expressed confidence that the Mavs would find a way to get past the mess.
But when he committed to Brooklyn in recent days, Larkin took that pledge seriously.
"When I agreed, I didn’t pick up the phone for anybody else," Larkin said. "That’s it."
It’s impossible to say how much of a domino effect Jordan’s last-minute flip impacted free agency for franchises and other players. If he had announced early he was staying with the Clippers, teams may have changed their free agent strategies, including the Mavericks.
Former NBA executive Stu Jackson tweeted that changes could be coming to the system.
"Change to the moratorium system is imminent 8-9 days is too long and process could move back," Jackson wrote.
The moratorium next year is scheduled to last from July 1 through July 11.
Earlier in the week, Cuban was fined $25,000 by the NBA for commenting about the team’s agreements with Jordan and Wes Matthews during the league’s free agent moratorium. Cuban praised Jordan’s ability and discussed the role he would have on the Mavericks during a radio interview.
Cuban said he offered Matthews the chance to back out of his handshake deal, and that Matthews declined.
"Wes Matthews is exactly the type of player we want in a Mavs uniform and our fans will love him," Cuban wrote in his message.
Free agency started on July 1 and players can agree to deals at any time after that window opens, but they could not become official until 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday — the start of the new league year, one day after the salary cap and other financial matters for the coming season are released and finalized.
The Clippers announced at 12:05 a.m. Thursday that they were keeping Jordan, releasing a tweet saying, "We’re officially centered."
"In all the years I’ve been I guess doing this job or been in the league, I’ve never seen it," King said. "And I think it’s only going to get worse. … So I think as a league we have to look at it and maybe start the signing, everything starts the same time when the moratorium ends rather than starting July 1"