The Los Angeles Clippers reportedly received calls about big man DeAndre Jordan and seriously considered one deal from the Houston Rockets.
Lawrence Frank, the executive vice president of basketball for the franchise, recently said that Jordan is a “Clipper for life” and that the team hopes to build around him.
But according to basketball analyst Zach Lowe, the front office for Los Angeles received a relatively tempting offer from the Rockets in February 2017 (via ESPN):
“The Clippers have explored DeAndre Jordan trades, though perhaps only one proposal — a deal which would have sent Jordan to Houston at last season’s trade deadline for Clint Capela, picks and players — ever gained semiserious traction, league sources say.”
Capela would have given the team a player who is very similar to Jordan, though less developed. He has previously spoken about his likeness to the Los Angeles center.
While any other details of the proposal are unclear, it’s worth considering that the two teams eventually agreed to a deal for Chris Paul. During their initial negotiations, it’s plausible Los Angeles told Houston which assets they most prefer on their roster.
In the exchange for Paul, the Clippers received Patrick Beverley as well as Lou Williams and Sam Dekker. Beverley and Dekker both have non-guaranteed contracts for next season. Williams will become an unrestricted free agent.
Jordan can opt-in to a $24.1 million contract for next season, though in his column Lowe believes it’s possible he declines to instead seek a max deal. We’ve previously reported that few teams around the league are expected to have much cap space next offseason.
Lowe writes that Jordan may be back on the trading block if Los Angeles does not contend with their current roster:
“It’s easy to suggest the Clippers re-sign Jordan, and trade him later if they need space for a superstar — or if they can’t crack the contender’s circle with Griffin and Jordan as their top two players … Jordan is a legit All-Star, and any team with a stud free agent batting eyes at the Clippers might consider Jordan a nice sign-and-trade consolation prize.”
Capela has been one of the most productive players in the league this year, especially for a young center. His rookie contract will expire at the end of the season and he will earn a more lucrative deal, though presumably, this will be cheaper than what Jordan will receive.
If the Clippers put Jordan back on the market, it will be interesting to see how the value compares to what they would have received from the Rockets.