1:27pm: The Mavs indeed intend to pursue Jordan, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Still, there seems a better chance the Clippers will retain Jordan than the Blazers will keep fellow Mavs target LaMarcus Aldridge, given the numerous signals of late indicating that Aldridge is eyeing an exit from Portland, Stein writes.
WEDNESDAY, 9:09am: Jordan has expressed via back channels that he’ll be “extremely interested” in joining the Mavs this summer, multiple sources tell MacMahon, who writes in a full piece.
TUESDAY, 11:50pm: Soon-to-be free agent DeAndre Jordan has made it known that he has interest in signing with the Mavs this summer, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com (Twitter link). Jordan has spoken of his affection for Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers, but even as he gave thanks for Rivers and his teammates in an interview with Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today in March, the Relativity Sports client indicated that the Clippers aren’t necessarily the front-runners for him.
Jordan has said he’s seeking a long-term commitment rather than a one-year deal that would allow him to hit free agency again next year and take advantage of the projected surge in the salary cap. The Clips will be able to offer a five-year contract with 7.5% raises instead of the four-year deal with 4.5% raises that every other team, including the Mavs, will be limited to. Still, the Clippers already have Chris Paul and Blake Griffin on maximum-salary deals, and another one for Jordan would pile yet more on top of a soaring payroll. The Clippers already have about $58MM committed against a projected $67.1MM cap for next season, and that doesn’t include most of Jamal Crawford‘s and Matt Barnes‘ partially guaranteed salaries. Still, the Clippers have Jordan’s Bird rights and thus can exceed the cap to re-sign him, and owner Steve Ballmer has no shortage of wealth to lay out if he so chooses.
The Mavs only have about $28MM on the books for next season, not counting close to $14MM in player options for Monta Ellis, Raymond Felton and Al-Farouq Aminu. Even if all three opt in, which seems unlikely, the Mavs would probably still have the cap flexibility needed to give Jordan a max deal with a starting salary that will likely fall in the neighborhood of $19MM. Much of that flexibility comes as Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler head into free agency. Coach Rick Carlisle let it slip that he can’t envision Rondo back with the team, and while Dallas owner Mark Cuban has affection for Chandler, the Mavs probably wouldn’t hesitate to replace him with Jordan, a younger, more athletic version of the defensive-minded Chandler.
Jordan finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting this month, and he led the league in rebounding for a second straight season with 15.0 per game. The 26-year-old, who turns 27 in July, also topped the NBA in field goal percentage for the third year in a row as he seldom dared to stray outside his severely limited offensive range. In spite of that shortcoming, most acute at the free-throw line where he shot an atrocious 39.7% this year, he scored a career-high 11.5 points per game this season, though some of that is surely tied to the extra free throws he gets when teams intentionally foul him to send him to the line.