Lob City lost one of its most prominent residents Friday when free-agent center DeAndre Jordan agreed to leave the Clippers for the Dallas Mavericks, spurning the only NBA team he had known to begin a new chapter in his career.
Jordan agreed to sign with the Mavericks for four years and $80 million after being wowed by the team’s presentation earlier this week and the relentless wooing of new teammates Chandler Parsons and Wesley Matthews.
Jordan, 26, cannot officially sign with Dallas until Thursday, when the league’s moratorium on formal commitments ends.
The departure of one of the NBA’s top defenders and rebounders leaves the Clippers with limited options to replace Jordan because of their severe financial constraints — unless they are able to work out a sign-and-trade agreement. They have already reached out to representatives of veteran free agent Amare Stoudemire, and could also pursue Kosta Koufos and Kevin Seraphin.
The Clippers pitched Jordan on increased marketing opportunities as well as his potential to anchor the defense of a roster bolstered by the recent acquisitions of Paul Pierce and Lance Stephenson. But Coach Doc Rivers’ attempts to assuage Jordan’s strained relationship with all-star point guard Chris Paul apparently were not sufficient to convince Jordan that he should return.
Had Jordan returned, the Clippers would have been widely considered strong contenders in the loaded Western Conference; with his departure their brand takes a significant hit even with all-stars Paul and Blake Griffin on the roster. Jordan was selected the NBA’s third-team center last season and a member of the league’s first-team defense.