Clippers Jordan apologizes for free-agency ‘fiasco’
DeAndre Jordan thought the Dallas Mavericks offered everything he wanted, including a fresh start and a starring role.
Then Jordan thought about it some more, and the craziest freeagent recruitment story in recent NBA history ended with him back on the Los Angeles Clippers.
“When free agency started, this whole fiasco was not my intent,” Jordan said Tuesday.
Jordan celebrated his 27th birthday at Staples Center with the Clippers, proudly holding up the revamped version of his familiar No. 6 jersey alongside new teammates Paul Pierce and Josh Smith.
Yet Jordan realizes he nearly derailed the Clippers’ title hopes and definitely disrupted Dallas’ retooling plans by backing out of his verbal commitment.
The two-time NBA rebounding champion changed his mind after days of existential angst and a frantic trip to Houston by the Clippers’ leaders to sit out the final hours of the signing moratorium together.
Jordan knows he picked an awfully weird way to stick with the same team, but he regretted the decision to join the Mavs shortly after making it.
“Originally with Dallas, I thought I wanted change,” Jordan said. “I wanted a bigger role and more responsibility, and I was ready to embrace and accept that challenge. But (when) I got by myself and I was able to think about everything that just happened, I realized that being with the Clippers was the best decision for me.”
Jordan has spent his entire seven-year career with the Clippers, who have made four straight playoff appearances for the first time. After decades of incompetence, they’ve become one of the NBA’s elite teams with Jordan, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin leading the way under coach Doc Rivers.
Jordan decided he had to find out how this story ends.
“I really thought about being on one team for my entire career,” said Jordan, who agreed to a fouryear, $87.6 million deal to return. “That was really important to me.”
The Clippers retooled their roster after their second-round playoff exit this spring – even if it would have meant much less if the big man had left a hole in the middle.