Storyline: DeAndre Jordan Trade?

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Should a deal for Jordan get done, Dallas will be out of cap space and likely won’t have much roster space — as many as 13 spots could be filled when the new guys are included. Depending on how the bench develops and whether the team can build chemistry, Dallas should at least have a shot at the No. 8 seed in the West. There’s also this to consider: Nowitzki has not definitively said he’s retiring after next season. The Mavs might be doing more than trying to give Nowitzki one last memorable season. They may be trying to give him two.

If Jordan decides to pass on the option, Dallas would be forced to try to sign him in free agency. Other potential frontcourt targets for the Mavericks in that scenario include the All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans and the restricted free agent Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets. The Clippers have granted permission to Jordan and his New York-based agent, Jeff Schwartz, to explore trade scenarios with other teams as they weigh the pros and cons of opting into the final season of Jordan’s current contract, according to the people.

In the land of second chances, the Mavericks have made it clear they are in a forgiving mood, reversing field to become major threats for free-agent-to-be DeAndre Jordan. Management extended a qualifying offer to Doug McDermott on Tuesday, but then took it off the table when news broke about the Los Angeles Clippers trading for center Marcin Gortat from Washington. An NBA source said that the Mavericks need the roughly $10-million salary-cap hold that McDermott would have required if he had OK’d the qualifying offer and become a restricted free agent.

What lies beyond this season remains speculative because Jordan was unable to reach an agreement on an extension, and the Clippers are attempting to start over without bottoming out. Jordan remains but not from a lack of effort to move him. Cleveland was close to acquiring him at the deadline but opted for a larger, three-team deal with Sacramento and Utah. The Clippers also refused to give him away for nickels on the dollar at the trade deadline. “My name has been mentioned [in trades] for the past few years. So I’m not really tripping on that,” DeAndre Jordan told Yahoo Sports. “I really don’t give a [expletive] at this point. I’m just playing, man, staying locked into the game, playing as hard as I can for this organization because I love this team. And I love where we’re at and the group of guys that I’m playing with, so that’s what makes me happy.”

If the Clippers somehow find an 11th-hour DeAndre Jordan deal after spending the last several days whispering to anyone who would listen that there is virtually no chance a workable trade presents itself, or if the Memphis Grizzlies abruptly defy their season-long vow to resist all trade interest in Marc Gasol and make their former All-Star center available — fantastic. More fun for all of us. But if not? Let’s all step back to properly salute the extended flurry of big names on the move for all the enjoyment it has provided for the masses.

The Clippers are telling teams they are fine holding on to DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams through the deadline — though you would be hard-pressed to find too many who believe them. Portland has engaged the Clippers on Jordan. Cleveland and Milwaukee have, too. A team to watch: Washington. There is some buzz that the Wizards could put together a Marcin Gortat/Kelly Oubre-headlined package that the Clippers, who have vowed not to bottom out, could find appealing.

David Aldridge: Wizards’ interest in @DeAndre Jordan, like almost every other team—maybe not the Cavs—would be predicated on him opting in for 2018-19 ($24.1M) rather than opting out to become UFA. From what I’ve heard thus far, Jordan has given no indication to anyone that he’d be willing to do that. Jordan hired Jeff Schwartz—perhaps the most powerful agent in the NBA—last year. You generally don’t do that if you’re just going to opt in next summer rather than opt out and seek a max/near max contract.

One of the roadblocks for a team to trade for him is his contract situation as he could become a free agent by the summer. Teams do not see this as a good sign, as he could turn out to be a very risky loan for them, and could give up assets without the guarantee of him re-signing with them. That was also part of the report made by Zach Lowe of ESPN, as he stated that Jordan would be even more appealing if he opted into his contract for next season. Interest leaguewide would be higher if Jordan signaled he might opt into his deal for next season, but that hasn’t happened, sources say.
6 months ago via ESPN

Adrian Wojnarowski: I’m told that Portland has backed away a bit from [acquiring DeAndre Jordan]. If you’re Portland and you [get] DeAndre Jordan, hypothetically, you’re locked in financially—that’s your team. You’re giving DeAndre an extension at 30 years old for four years or five years, whatever it may be. You better be ready for that to be your team, and is that team good enough? As of this weekend, I’ve been told that Portland was not—and I wouldn’t say they were ever aggressive, I think they have to make the call, everyone is going to make the call—but that doesn’t seem to be a road they’re going to go down.
6 months ago via ESPN

Adrian Wojnarowski: [The Clippers are] very much open for business. I think there’s probably a little bit more on the board right now for Louis Williams than there is for DeAndre Jordan. I think it’s entirely possible that DeAndre Jordan does not get traded this week because, again, anybody who trades for him wants to know what it’s gonna cost, what an extension would look like. And not everybody in the world is ready to pay him four years and $115 million. There are teams who want him and I think would pay him, but the Clippers are looking at this—they don’t want to take back a bunch of future money. They want to get money off. Their preference ultimately would be to let him walk instead of taking back a bad contract or a couple of bad contracts, just to get back a late first-round pick.

Question: Hello, I was wondering what would Cleveland have to give to L.A in order for it to land DeAndre Jordan? David Aldridge: The Clips are holding out for that Brooklyn first. Now, L.A. now has a 2018 first coming from Detroit in the Blake Griffin deal, so its desire for another 2018 first may not be as great as it was before last week. But what else does Cleveland have that you’d really want (Tristan Thompson, who would almost certainly be part of a Jordan deal in any iteration, aside)? The pressure on owner Dan Gilbert in Cleveland to jettison that pick to make a season/franchise/please-LeBron-don’t-leave-saving move is going to be enormous in the next 72 hours.

Now in their fourth season since James returned, is mental fatigue taking a toll on the Cavs? Sam Amick: It’s a whole lot more complicated than the fatigue factor, and it has everything to do with the layers of dysfunction that the Cavs are battling. Cavs general manager Koby Altman is trying hard to shed the contracts of Tristan Thompson (two years, $36 million remaining) and J.R. Smith ($14.7 million next season, team option worth $15.6 million in 2019-20 with $3.8 million guaranteed), two players who were re-signed in large part because of LeBron’s omnipresent influence. They’re all represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who built the agency with a huge assist from James. As it pertains to the Cavs’ interest in the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, a person with knowledge of that situation said Cleveland continues to offer only its own first-round pick and this kind of unwanted money in those stalled negotiations. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Chris Paul, traded to Houston in a blockbuster deal last June. Blake Griffin, gone to Detroit in another mega-deal earlier this week. What does it mean for DeAndre Jordan? He likely will be moving on by this week’s trade deadline, marking the end of “Lob City.” Milwaukee, in win-now mode, and Cleveland, always looking to make moves at the deadline to keep LeBron James happy, remain the two favorites, sources say. Sources say Miami, Portland and Orlando recently made inquiries about Jordan as well.
6 months ago via ESPN

The Bucks have been active in trade talks, including for DeAndre Jordan, and adding another huge long-term salary would likely cost one of their core players this summer. (Talks with the Clippers have not gotten anywhere near serious.) They could rent a center on an expiring contract — Derrick Favors, maybe — but it’s unclear if they have the assets to work that sort of deal.

When Jordan hired Schwartz, some league insiders initially thought the decision paved a path to Milwaukee. The Bucks have a history with Excel Sports Management clients: They’ve reached in the draft for both Rashad Vaughn and Thon Maker, and longtime Schwartz client Jason Kidd was the coach. But now that Kidd has been fired and bridges have been burned, Milwaukee is a less viable destination. If he is traded, a team like the Cavaliers or Bucks will have to go all in.

The Cavs contacted Sacramento about a possible trade for guard George Hill, and the New York Times reported that Cleveland has also engaged the Los Angeles Clippers about DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams. The Times said the Cavs have floated J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, and Iman Shumpert in possible trades — all of them have been here for each of Cleveland’s last three Finals runs and have seen their roles diminish this season for one reason or another. The Cavs are 1-4 in their last five games and privately their marquee players have suggested the team needs a roster upgrade or two. “I like our group,”Tyronn Lue reiterated. “Until we figure out rotations and getting guys healthy and what we have … I like what we have.”

League sources told Cleveland.com weeks ago that the Cavs would consider trading him to the Clippers as a part of a deal to bring DeAndre Jordan to Cleveland. Similar reports resurfaced Friday. “It doesn’t bother me at all,” Thompson said. “At the end of the day you only control what you can control. That’s when coach calls me in the game, go out and play hard and compete. That business side, people get paid to do that stuff. I get paid to be out there on the court and compete and do my job. Guys get paid to make decisions and move pieces around.

As teams pick up trade activity before the trade deadline, the Cavaliers are shaping up to be perhaps the most fascinating contending team. They have two first-round draft picks — including the heralded Brooklyn Nets’ selection via the Irving trade — but the superstar player whom the franchise could pursue with that pick has not been made available. Multiple NBA teams have cited Tristan Thompson as an asset Cleveland is willing to move in the right deal, such as one for the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan.

Add to that DeAndre Jordan’s potential free agency this summer — he has a player option for next season that would pay him $24.1 million. The sense that everybody is auditioning for their jobs next season is palpable. “With that, it’s a positive, too,” Jordan said last week. “Everybody’s playing for something, playing with a chip on their shoulder. When you’ve got a group of guys like that, it’s great. I don’t know (what’s going to happen). That’s out of my control. I’m just focusing on playing right now and winning as many games as we can, and individually, focusing on being a better player.”

Alex Kennedy: Do you think we see DeAndre Jordan get moved before free agency this upcoming summer? Michael Scotto: I think certainly the Clippers will gauge his value in the trade market. That said, it’s funny because around the league you hear conflicting things. I think the people who want DeAndre Jordan are pushing the narrative that the Clippers are trying to get rid of him. I don’t necessarily get that vibe if you’re the Clippers. Because I’ve heard from some people, they want to keep DeAndre and make him a Clipper for life with Blake Griffin. So really, it depends who you talk to.

Steve Kyler: There has already been some speculation that Jordan could be on the move to the Milwaukee Bucks in a package built around John Henson and possibly Jabari Parker, who is getting closer to returning to action after a second ACL tear. The Cleveland Cavaliers have also been in the mix with an offer built around guard Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson and a first-round pick. It’s been reported that pick was possibly the Brooklyn pick obtained in the Kyrie Irving trade, although sources close to the situation say it was never discussed and that the Cavs were open to moving their own pick in any trade scenarios.
8 months ago via ESPN

It will be fascinating to watch how they evolve. Milwaukee will investigate DeAndre Jordan, and that is another future version of this team: Antetokounmpo running pick-and-roll with a lob dunker, shooters surrounding them. That would also require something of a stylistic overhaul; Kidd has favored a more egalitarian motion offense, with cuts and handoffs swirling around the elbows. The Bucks can’t pay all of Antetokounmpo, Bledsoe, Parker, Middleton, Tony Snell, and Jordan. They almost certainly can’t get Jordan without giving up one of their good and expensive rotation guys, anyway. (I would be very surprised if they flipped Parker for Jordan, to be clear.)

After the season, Jordan can opt out of the four-year, $87.6 million deal he signed with the Clippers in 2015. And with the Clippers situated precariously in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, numerous teams have inquired about Jordan’s availability as the February trade deadline approaches. Both are scenarios that Jordan, 29, would be ill-suited to navigate without an agent. “It’s so hard to know otherwise what’s going on,” a person who advises several NBA stars told B/R. “I look at it like this: If you play for a team, is the team ever really going to tell you, ‘We’re trying to trade you?’ How do you get a guy to buy in after that?”

“If a team’s trying to trade for you, they’re going to want some kind of commitment if they’re going to give away significant pieces,” the adviser said. “How do you do that without an agent involved?” Among the teams “kicking the tires hard” on Jordan’s availability in a trade, according to a Western Conference executive, are the Milwaukee Bucks. Having added Bledsoe to a rising young core that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and reigning Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, the Bucks are an intriguing potential destination. According to the Western Conference executive, Milwaukee is intent on adding size and rebounding at the trade deadline. Jordan would provide both, and the Bucks have the pieces to get a deal done. They also have something else that should not be underestimated: head coach Jason Kidd’s close ties to Jordan’s agent.

To Jordan’s credit, he’s receiving rave reviews internally for keeping an upbeat spirit during this challenging time and doing all he can as a locker room leader. “We’ve got to stick with it and find a way to keep this ship afloat while these guys get healthy,” Jordan told USA TODAY Sports. “I’ll let (the front office) handle what they handle. That’s out of my control, so I’ll focus on what I can control. Like I said, I’m happy being here and you know, we’ll see what happens. If they come to me and they want to talk about (a possible trade), we can talk about it, you know? I don’t believe nothing in this league until it happens.”

Time for a guest D.J.? From Jason Maynard: “Do you think the Clippers will move DeAndre Jordan before year’s end?” That’s been a low-pilot buzz around the Association for a little while, Jason, and Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com put it out there Friday that the Cavs would be “willing” to move Tristan Thompson for Jordan. And, you hear that the Clippers have put feelers out to a handful of teams. It makes sense. DJ has this season at $22.6 million before his option year in 2018-19 at $24.1 million. If L.A. was to move Jordan, now would be the time. The Clippers clearly aren’t a contender any more, and losing Patrick Beverley for the season only accentuates it. So why not move Jordan? He would certainly bring back a good haul; he still is immensely disruptive on screen and rolls, and protects the rim so well, he more than pays for his contract even if he’s not a first option on offense (at least he’s shooting 60 percent from the line this season, way, way up from previous Hack-a-DJ campaigns). Any contender could use him.

Question: Would Cleveland entertain DeAndre Jordan for the Nets pick and Tristan Thompson? Joe Vardon: DeAndre Jordan’s numbers are down this season. He’s averaging 10.4 points and shooting .664 from the field (he only shoots twos). Even his blocks — 1.2 per game — are down from the 1.7 he averaged a year ago. Also, Jordan, 29, has a $24.1 million player’s option in his contract for next season. So, he could essentially be a rental. That said, you’re right, he’d thrive playing alongside LeBron James and Isaiah Thomas. Tristan Thompson was great against the Warriors in the Finals two seasons ago, and struggled mightily last year. A league source believes this move, Jordan for Thompson, is one the Cavs would consider. How the Brooklyn pick figured in remains to be seen (Cleveland also has its own No. 1 pick), but if the Cavs felt Jordan was the only piece missing for them to take down the Warriors they’d have to consider this.
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