Talk about premature celebrations. The Dallas Mavericks were left at the altar by the Los Angeles Clippers’ center/wedding jumper DeAndre Jordan on Wednesday.
Let’s call it what it is: one of the most embarrassing moments in franchise history. There are no prizes for teams that nearly land big-time players in free agency. The Mavs finally hooked a "big fish" only to watch him wiggle off the hook at the last minute.
A lot of Mavs fans will focus their anger on Jordan, and that’s fine. But Mark Cuban should receive his fair share of criticism. There’s no way something like this should happen. Cuban should have surrounded Jordan with Mavs allies just like Doc Rivers decided to do Wednesday. Dallas was too busy celebrating a rare win in free agency.
I know some folks are upset Jordan didn’t at least talk to Cuban and Chandler Parsons, but this man’s not the picture of stability right now. And this story about him calling the Clippers to express his second thoughts seems pretty far-fetched to me. I don’t think the Clippers ever stopped calling Jordan.
His decision makes sense because the Clippers know exactly how to use him. Too much was being made about him becoming the face of the Mavs’ franchise. You don’t build a team around a man who scores 11.5 points per game in his breakout season. Clippers point guard Chris Paul has reportedly taken steps to address the issues he had with Jordan. Maybe he promised not to humiliate the big fella by exchanging high fives with every teammate except his anymore.
The Mavs basically have no recourse at this point. Cuban recently indicated the organization would’ve had to take a step back in 2015-16 had his team not landed Jordan. Now that scenario is upon us. Will Cuban have the discipline or the stomach to lose 50 games? The Mavs need to land a top-seven pick in next year’s draft, so it wouldn’t be wise to sell out for the 8th seed in the playoffs. Dirk Nowitzki will have to trudge through a lost season. He deserves better.
He has to be baffled by Jordan’s behavior, although Dirk’s not the type to hold a grudge. I do expect Rick Carlisle to go overboard on Hack-A-Jordan next season. He’ll send him to the line 30 times just to prove a point.
Cuban and Donnie Nelson will scramble to fill out the roster. They may surprise us with a decent haul. But everyone Wednesday was talking about the one that got away.
Dallas is simply not a great destination for free agents. And maybe the Clippers knew that all along.
If coffee’s for closers, don’t give any to the Mavs.