1:50pm: Rivers more or less confirmed that the Clippers will offer Jordan a max deal when asked at the team’s season ending press conference today, as Markazi relays (Twitter link).
“Yeah, I think I can say that,” Rivers said.
12:51pm: Reiter expands on the alleged rift between Jordan and Paul in a full story.
12:31pm: Jordan and Chris Paul have had a falling out this season, sources tell Bill Reiter of Fox Sports 1, who suggests it’s a factor that’s liable to sway the center to sign elsewhere (Twitter link).
9:16am: It’s “obvious” that the Clippers will do whatever it takes to retain DeAndre Jordan this summer, coach/executive Doc Rivers said postgame Sunday to reporters, including Dan Woike of the Orange County Register. The Clippers are expected to offer Jordan a five-year max contract, sources tell Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. It’ll take such an offer to bring him back, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, and chatter has persisted for a while that Jordan is anxious to move someplace where he wouldn’t be seen as the third cog, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
“DJ loves us, but you’ve always got to be concerned,” Rivers said to Amick. “DJ would be great. We’ve got to try to do whatever we can. He’s obviously a free agent, and he has earned that right to be free. I don’t want to say much on it, but we love him.”
Jordan, who comes in eighth in the latest Hoops Rumors Free Agent Power Rankings, has expressed through back channels that he’ll be “extremely interested” in signing with the Mavs this summer, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reported last month. The center, a Texas native, told Amick and USA Today colleague Jeff Zillgitt in March that the Clippers weren’t necessarily the favorites to retain him, despite their ability to offer five years and 7.5% raises while other teams, the Mavs included, are capped at four years and 4.5% raises. Still, in that same interview, Jordan called Rivers “my biggest supporter and the best coach I’ve ever had” and expressed his satisfaction with playing for the Clippers. Jordan said after Sunday’s loss that free agency wasn’t on his mind, as Woike notes.
“I’ve been here for seven years, so this is what I’m used to,” Jordan said Sunday. “But I’m not thinking about that, man. [The loss is] still so fresh tonight. It’s tough.”
Rivers cited Jordan’s affection for the franchise to Wojnarowski, injecting a level of optimism into the team’s pursuit to retain the defensive stalwart and league-leading rebounder, who’ll turn 27 in July.
“You can’t take anything for granted, but DJ loves being a Clipper,” Rivers said to Wojnarowski. “DJ loves being here. We have an amazing relationship.”
The Clippers are under pressure to re-sign Jordan, since they already have more than $58MM in guaranteed salary for next season against a projected $67.1MM salary cap. It would cost the Clips almost $6.72MM in salary that’s currently non-guaranteed to keep Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes under contract. All that means is that the team wouldn’t have the resources to come up with a center anywhere as valuable as Jordan if he were to walk.