It's been almost a week now since DeAndre Jordan's indecisiveness shook the very foundation of the NBA's free agency system.
We've had a chance to process the whole thing, we've now been privy to bits and pieces of truth revealed, and we've been able to re-analyze the 2015-2016 NBA landscape in this post-DeAndre world, and my one big takeaway from all of this: I can't believe that it's DeAndre Jordan that's causing all this! I mean…it's DEANDRE Jordan. It's not MICHAEL Jordan. (Hell, it's actually closer to Michael CAGE, like DeAndre Jordan, another Clipper who led the league in rebounding at the age of 26.)
Jordan is positively an impact player, a rim protector and a defensive rebound vacuum. He's also a player who, if he's your best player, dooms you to the top of the lottery, but if he's your third best player, makes you a title contender. So ironically, while we can laud Jordan's self-awareness from a player-perspective, it doesn't erase the fact that he handled his business last week like a seventh grader.
Unfortunately, that continued on Friday evening when Jordan apologized via a prepared statement, parsed out in two tweets:
While Jordan's public apology is insufficient unless it was supplemented with a personal phone call to Cuban, it should throw a damp blanket over the piping hot take from some of the crowd that claims "DeAndre did nothing wrong." Why would you publicly apologize for doing NOTHING wrong? To be clear, DeAndre Jordan did nothing illegal. Hell, you could argue that from a business standpoint, he didn't do anything wrong, if you want to take the NBA's moratorium period to the letter of the law.
But the fact is, for a 26 year old man who had just okayed an $80 million contract, he handled his business completely improperly by leaving Mark Cuban in the dark, not taking his phone calls, and sequestering himself in his house with his buddies until the minute he could legally sign a contract.
For his part, Cuban was having none of it from Jordan, apology or no apology….
Mavs owner Mark Cuban, via his Cyber Dust app, makes it clear he's not impressed with DeAndre Jordan's apology. pic.twitter.com/ToI8RQelZ6— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 11, 2015
So if we are still tabulating "Winners and Losers" in this whole ordeal, clearly we need to add Zaza Pachulia's name — nobody has EVER been this excited to acquire Zaza Pachulia!
There were a lot of people apologizing to Cuban on Friday, as Jordan's mea culpa was preceded hours earlier by ESPN's Chris Broussard, who on the night of the DeAndre Indecision had tweeted that Cuban was driving around Houston texting Jordan's family members looking for his home address. Broussard did this despite having Cuban's phone number, and presumably the ability to check with the ultimate source on the topic — Cuban himself:
Regarding my Wednesday report: I should have attempted to contact Mark Cuban before reporting what my (cont) http://t.co/xYeimqRQoq— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 10, 2015
Here's the entire Broussard tweet via the Twitlonger link:
"Regarding my Wednesday report: I should have attempted to contact Mark Cuban before reporting what my sources were telling me. I always try to carry myself with honesty and integrity both personally and professionally. I recognize that I tweeted hastily, I’m sorry for it, and I will learn from my mistake."
Now, to our knowledge, nobody has apologized to Chandler Parsons yet, and that much was quite apparent in Parsons' interview that he did with ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon, in which Parsons had the following to say about Jordan's choice:
"He wasn't ready to be a franchise player. He was scared," Parsons said. "He was scared to take the next step in his career. There was no other reason other than that he was comfortable and he has friendships there. How you make a business decision like that is beyond me. How you ignore an owner like Mark who is in your hometown just waiting for a chance to talk to you is beyond me."
I'm not sure what it says about Parsons as a (moderately overpaid) basketball player that his most noteworthy feisty moment comes from losing out on a free agent courtship in which he was instrumental. A lot of Parsons' reputation as an NBA entity is focused on a nebulous belief that he's a huge draw for free agents to have as a teammate, which I believe to be somewhat true, but greatly exaggerated. It does make you wonder how much of Parsons' vitriol, which comes across a little petty, is due to the direct hit his "master recruiter" reputation has taken over the last five days.
As an aside, when asked about the whole Jordan situation, former Maverick Tyson Chandler (now with the Suns) called Parsons "butthurt" over the entire ordeal. Courtesy of TMZ:
On Friday, J.J. Redick did an interview with Grantland's Zach Low for his podcast, in which he gave some insight as to what all went down from the Clippers' perspective this past week and on that fateful day. You should listen to the entire interview, but here are the key portions transcribed:
So when do you become aware that DeAndre is having cold feet?
I was at swim class with my son — he’s 10 months old — and it’s like a 30-minute class. We do it every Tuesday at 11:30 in the morning, and I was finishing up, we were drying off, and I looked at my phone and I had a ‘Call me ASAP’ text from Doc. So when I called him, he’s like, “First of all, you’re not getting traded.” That’s every player’s fear when they get that text from their coach or GM — and in this case both. So I was happy. And [then] he just laid it on the table. He said, “Hey, you know, DeAndre wants to come back. We’re going to Houston.” I said, “Great.” You know, he texted me the details of where I need to be and when I need to be there.
This is Wednesday morning?
Yeah, this is Wednesday morning. I was actually, oddly enough, on the phone with my financial adviser as I’m pulling into Houston. We were discussing something, and I told him what I was doing and I was like, “Yeah, it’s really weird the story hasn’t broke.” And then I hung up the phone, and I get to the hotel and Marc Stein puts it out there. [Then] I was scrolling through my timeline, and I saw a plane emoji. You know, “Chandler Parsons to the rescue, yay!” And I’m just like, all right, we’re going to tweet out a car. I’m already there! I was in the suite we were all going to meet at prior to heading over to DeAndre’s.
And the rest of it is you guys are literally just chilling for eleven hours, basically.
Yeah. [Laughs.] Well, at about 5:30 Central Time, I was like, “This is done.” I’d had my chicken, I’d played some spades. My wife had to leaveThursday morning for Florida, and she’s like, “I gotta pack.” So I’m like, “All right, I gotta get back to Austin.” [But] I was so amped that I’m following along with Blake [as I drove], I’m like, “Hey, Blake, what’s going on? What’s going on at the house? Blah blah blah.” I was talking to my agent, I called Chelsea, I’m driving, and I’m like, I gotta be getting close to Austin. Like, what the hell? I’ve been driving forever. And so I look down at my phone and I was in San Antonio. I had driven an hour and a half out of the way.
Do you feel like DJ owed Dallas a phone call? I know that’s an awkward question.
That’s a great question. The answer is probably no.
Probably no. You know, let me [tell you about] my free-agency situation two years ago. It was between Minnesota and the Clippers. And, in my free-agency situation —
—That was when Minnesota looked like they were going to be good and you were going to be like a key piece on a growing team. How things have changed.
Yeah. I essentially committed to Flip. There were still some things to be worked out, the trade kicker, and, you know, Doc calls me and says, “Hey, if we get to this salary, will you come?” And I was like, “Yeah, if you get there.” And when they did, you know, my agent called Flip. [It] was not on me to call Flip. My agent called Flip. Two days later, when Donald Sterling decided he didn’t want to do the sign-and-trade with me, because he thought I was a bench player or because I was white — I’ve heard both stories — I didn’t get a call from Donald Sterling. [That was] the agent’s job. So I’m not really sure why Dan Fegan wasn’t the one calling Cuban. I don’t know. I can’t speak for Dan Fegan, but I’m confused by that whole relationship.
In the end, all parties involved will need to put aside emotions. All that matters is what takes place on the court in pursuit of an NBA title, and in case you're wondering how Jordan's flip-flop effected all that, just know that after his verbal agreement with the Mavericks, both they and the Clippers were 20-1 to win the championship in 2016.
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SHOW ME HOW
Now? Well, here you go, courtesy of Bovada:
Cleveland Cavaliers 11/4
San Antonio Spurs 3/1
Golden State Warriors 11/2
Oklahoma City Thunder 17/2
Los Angeles Clippers 9/1
Chicago Bulls 16/1
Houston Rockets 25/1
Miami Heat 25/1
Memphis Grizzlies 28/1
Atlanta Hawks 40/1
Dallas Mavericks 40/1
Indiana Pacers 40/1
New Orleans Pelicans 40/1
Milwaukee Bucks 50/1
Toronto Raptors 50/1
Washington Wizards 50/1
Los Angeles Lakers 66/1
Boston Celtics 75/1
Detroit Pistons 100/1
Phoenix Suns 100/1
Portland Trailblazers 100/1
Utah Jazz 100/1
Brooklyn Nets 150/1
Minnesota Timberwolves 150/1
New York Knicks 150/1
Sacramento Kings 150/1
Denver Nuggets 200/1
Charlotte Hornets 250/1
Orlando Magic 250/1
Philadelphia 76ers 250/1
My biggest takeaway from those odds? Rockets at 25-1 are pretty good value. Just sayin'.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.