Uh oh. DeAndre Jordan has reached “a verbal agreement” to sign with the Dallas Mavericks in free agency. That is a cursed sentence. We have entered “fool me twice” territory, here.
Jordan declined the optional final year on the four-year max contract he signed with the Clippers in the insane summer of 2015, paving the way for him to go where he pleases in free agency this summer. You will remember, Jordan signed that max deal after he’d “reached a verbal agreement to sign with the Dallas Mavericks,” in what is likely to go down as the craziest free agency saga in NBA history. Jordan’s reversal was so absolute that he even wound up firing agent Dan Fegan, possibly for pushing him to agree with the Mavericks in the first place. The Mavericks were coming off a 50-win season; they responded to Jordan’s rejection by signing [gulp] Zaza Pachulia and [GULP] JaVale McGee, and began a three-year slide into irrelevance, which is more or less where they find themselves this offseason.
This is a different DeAndre Jordan, headed into his age-30 season and coming off a relatively lousy defensive year, and it’s a wildly different Clippers team, with much lower expectations headed into next season. So Cuban’s humiliation isn’t likely to come via Jordan being kidnapped by the Clippers and sequestered in his own home, but it could still come, from the more mundane consequences of signing a 30-year-old declining center to a $24 million one-year contract, as the anchor of a lottery team otherwise built around a 20-year-old point guard and a 19-year-old European rookie. Either way, if Mark Cuban really does want Jordan in a Mavericks jersey next season, he should at least consider locking him in a storage shed between now and July 6.