Full-court press

Clip­pers make late push to keep Jor­dan

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY SCHUYLER DIXON

The Los An­ge­les Clip­pers made a last-ditch push Wed­nes­day to keep DeAn­dre Jor­dan af­ter the free agent cen­tre had sec­ond thoughts about his agree­ment to join the Dal­las Mav­er­icks, peo­ple with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Wed­nes­day.

Jor­dan and the Mav­er­icks agreed to terms on a four-year, $80 mil­lion con­tract last Fri­day. The Clip­pers can of­fer a fiveyear deal worth even more once con­tracts can be signed start­ing to­day – and Los An­ge­les put to­gether a full-court press to keep Jor­dan with the only team he has ever played for over seven NBA sea­sons.

The Clip­pers sent a con­tin­gent to Hous­ton to make a per­sonal pitch to Jor­dan, a group that in­cludes Blake Grif­fin and Paul Pierce, ac­cord­ing to a per­son with knowl­edge of the plan. The per­son spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the de­tails.

Mav­er­icks owner Mark Cuban was al­ready in Hous­ton to try to per­suade Jor­dan to stick with his com­mit­ment to the Mav­er­icks, ac­cord­ing to a sec­ond per­son who spoke to AP also on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of the se­crecy of the team’s plans. Jor­dan is a Hous­ton na­tive who played at Texas A&M.

Los­ing Jor­dan could be a blow to the Mav­er­icks’ hopes of win­ning their first play­off se­ries since tak­ing the fran­chise’s first cham­pi­onship four years ago. It could also lead to a de­bate about the ef­fec­tive­ness of the NBA’s mora­to­rium in free agency.

The ban on sign­ing deals for about a week and a half af­ter the start of free agency was put into the labour agree­ment in an at­tempt to stop tam­per­ing, but in­stead has cre­ated the pos­si­bil­ity of play­ers hav­ing sec­ond thoughts.

Dal­las lost point guard Jason Kidd to the New York Knicks in 2012 af­ter he ini­tially agreed to re­turn to the Mav­er­icks, who ended up miss­ing the play­offs that sea­son for the first time in 12 years.

Jor­dan has led the NBA in re­bound­ing the past two years and is com­ing off ca­reer highs in scor­ing and re­bound­ing at 11.5 points and 15 re­bounds per game. He helped the Clip­pers get within a vic­tory of the Western Con­fer­ence fi­nals for the first time, but a sec­ond-half col­lapse at home in Game 6 was fol­lowed by a loss in the de­cid­ing game at Hous­ton.

The Mav­er­icks, who lost to the Rock­ets in the first round, also have a four-year agree­ment with free agent shoot­ing guard Wes­ley Matthews, though the value of the deal is ex­pected to de­pend on whether Dal­las lands Jor­dan.

The un­usual last-minute lob­by­ing played out on Twit­ter with var­i­ous play­ers tweet­ing emo­jis with ap­par­ent ref­er­ences to trav­el­ling to Hous­ton to meet with Jor­dan.

AP PHOTO

The Dal­las Mav­er­icks and Los An­ge­les Clip­pers both hope to land free agent big man DeAn­dre Jor­dan, cen­tre.

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