DeAndre Jordan signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks over the weekend, ditching a playoff team for one that’s basically turning over its entire roster. That may seem like a strange decision, but Jordan will have two things going for him in Dallas—a more prominent role in the offense, and a healthy distance from Chris Paul.
According to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, Jordan’s relationship with Paul soured considerably last year, with Jordan becoming a convenient scapegoat for the rest of the team whenever things went poorly. Paul seems to have been feeling particularly petty:
Jordan and Chris Paul had gotten into it more than once, which led Jordan to start seriously contemplating what it might be like to play elsewhere in 2015-16.
He was tired of Paul’s constant barking and petty gestures, like distributing high-fives to the three other guys on the floor following a timeout but somehow freezing out Jordan.
Arnovitz’s story, which is definitely worth a read, also has details about the Clippers’ underwhelming pitch meeting with Jordan, a meeting that Paul apparently didn’t bother to attend.
Chris Paul has always been surly as hell, but deliberately antagonizing the only guy on your team who is capable of grabbing 20 rebounds and protecting the rim seems like a bad idea. Jordan may not be a superstar or even worthy of a max contract, but he’s a hell of a lot better than whatever scrap-heap lug the Clippers will end up replacing him with.
There’s a good chance that one day—after a diminished Chris Paul has spent the last few years of his career whining at referees and cursing out teammates while never winning anything of real consequence—the main thing that people will remember about CP3 is that he was kind of a prick.