2:59pm: The Clippers offered Jordan an endorsement deal with Lexus for $200K a year, and that’s apparently what prompted the fine, a source tells Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
12:47pm: The NBA has fined the Clippers $250K for violating the league’s rules against circumventing the salary cap in their pitch to DeAndre Jordan last month, the league announced via press release (Twitter link via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports). The Clippers presented Jordan with a potential third-party endorsement opportunity during their meeting with him on July 2nd. That was before Jordan gave his commitment to the Mavericks, one that came undone when he later expressed second thoughts to the Clippers, who convinced him to re-sign.
The league’s investigation concluded that the violation didn’t influence Jordan’s ultimate decision to return to the team. However, the NBA is imposing the fine anyway, since rules prohibit teams from arranging compensation for players outside of the salary set forth via the contractual terms allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.
The fine will ultimately have little impact, since it doesn’t have any bearing on the team’s salary cap, and owner Steve Ballmer, who paid $2 billion to purchase the franchise last year, probably won’t feel much of a pinch over losing $250K. That the violation took part during the Clippers’ initial efforts to sign him, and not during the scramble that took place as he reneged on his decision to sign with the Mavs, further diminishes the effect. Still, it’s an odd coda to the already extraordinary story of Jordan’s free agency this summer.
What part of the Jordan storyline sticks out the most in your mind? Leave a comment to tell us.