The departure of DeAndre Jordan marks the most crushing free-agent loss in Dallas Mavericks history, a failure made even more odd and more painful because they are losing something they never even gained.
In a turn of events that is unprecedented (for the NBA) and sickening (for Mavs fans), Jordan — the prized big man who gave a verbal commitment to sign with the Mavericks late last week — used the ensuing few days of the pre-July 9 target to waffle and wonder and flirt with his former Clippers team and finally, late Wednesday, succumbed to a change of heart that has massive ramifications for the Mavs, the Clippers and the NBA infrastructure.
Jordan has indicated to the Clippers that he intends to back out of his commitment to Dallas to instead re-sign with LA when the free-agency moratorium lifts as the clock strikes midnight.
For LA, it turns their self-assessed "F" grade in free agency into an "A," as Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, coach Doc Rivers, and players Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Paul Pierce essentially locked themselves inside DeAndre’s Houston home while he chose them. The Mavs were seemingly figuratively and literally locked out, Mavericks reps Mark Cuban and Chandler Parsons traveling to Houston but apparently unable to secure a meeting with the 26-year-old star to jut days before was engaged in a "bromance" with the Mavs headliners.
"I thought I had a good pump fake," Parsons tweeted, reflecting on the defection.
Dallas, with Jordan’s four-year, $81.13-mil commitment now uncommitted, suddenly has its $19 mil of cap room back but nowhere to spend it in ways to get great. Cuban talked about how tanking would’ve been an option had Jordan not signed … which makes it a discussion item going forward.
Meanwhile, Mavs Nation will lick its wounds after finally catching a "big fish" in free agency and then having it wriggle off the hook … essentially meaning the franchise has now lost something it never really had.