The Los Angeles Clippers had a disappointing finish. They were up 3 games to 1 on the Houston Rockets and some thought they were getting ready to make their first conference finals appearance in team history. But all that seemed to crumble right in front of their eyes when the Clippers fell three straight games to the Houston Rockets, including an embarrassing performance in Game 7. At the end of that series, there began to be questions in regards to how they would move forward. Would they blow up the team or would they try to make adjustments. Without having much salary cap to work with, head coach and president of the Clippers Doc Rivers has to make some minor miracles happen to better this roster. So far, he has shipped out power forward Spencer Hawes and starting small forward Matt Barnes for the services of Lance Stephenson. And that apparently is not the only move the Clippers are trying to make. Rivers is reportedly trying to bring Paul Pierce back home to the Los Angeles area to reunite with his former player. But all of these moves mean nothing if they cannot bring back center DeAndre Jordan. The freakishly athletic center is hitting the open market tomorrow with a ton of other free agents. The Clippers want to bring him back, but he also has some other teams that would like to obtain his talents like the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks. Jordan seems to want to be paid a hefty amount of money to sign somewhere, but where is the best fit for his services?
DeAndre has been known to be a very good defensive presence over his career. And if a team is needing defense and rebounding, it is definitely the New York Knicks. Their big men could not get the job done on the boards and they did not have any intimidating forces inside to deter shots. With the addition of Jordan, they would have exactly what they need on that end of the floor. Jordan has the unique ability to make up for others on the defensive end because of his athleticism and his explosiveness. That alone would make Carmelo Anthony a better defender and raise the level of New York’s defense. But unfortunately, there are two ends of the court and you cannot sub Jordan out on the other end. For as good as he is defensively, he has yet to show some consistency on the offensive end. He has shown flashes of being able to use post moves, but he has often bricked some easy shots in the paint if they were not dunks. In the Triangle offense, the center needs to be able to either post up and make things happen in there or be able to hit the midrange jump shot. In the case of Jordan, he has not proven he can do either consistently. And despite the talk of New York making him a focus offensively, that would only lead to Jordan becoming something that he isn’t and that could end disastrously for New York. The gesture to be a focus on offense is nice and surely the money would be as well, but the Knicks are not any closer to winning the East by acquiring his services. And the team as it stands does not fit anything he does. Plus, do the Knicks really want DeAndre getting fouled and going to the free throw line?
Dallas may not be the home city for Jordan, but it is close enough to home for him. Jordan, who hails from Houston, Texas, would be going to a veteran team that is looking to add pieces to get Dirk Nowitzki that second ring. Last year, the Mavericks brought back center Tyson Chandler via trade and he was so-so for them. He made some good blocks and had some games where he was rocking the rim off alley-oops, but he was not the same guy when it came to the playoffs. Harden and the Rockets ate their lunch money and Chandler showed his age a little. In signing Jordan, the Mavericks would essentially be getting a younger version of Chandler with more explosive ability around the rim. Jordan would definitely be able to cover up for some of the defensive deficiencies of that team, but he would also be a liability offensively for the Mavericks. And with Monta Ellis opting out, the Mavs need more offense on their team. If they do not add someone on the perimeter to give them something, the signing Jordan would not do much for their chances in the West at all. In fact, they may take a step back by adding him and losing Ellis via free agency. And we must also remember Jordan’s struggles at the free throw line. Chandler, although he has not been a stellar free throw shooter over his career, would be considered Steph Curry when shooting free throws compared to DeAndre Jordan. Jordan shoots an anemic 39% from the free throw line. That alone would be something that could scare Dallas, especially with the Hack-A-Shaq rule still in play.
The team that Jordan should stay with is the Los Angeles Clippers. They were one win away from the conference finals and they are in the process of making changes to make themselves better. Of course, if he leaves, the changes will be all for naught. But the changes made helped make them deeper on the perimeter and better defensively. Of course this is not the only change that is supposed to happen in Los Angeles though. The Clippers are reportedly looking to move guard Jamal Crawford and they could have found a match in Denver. They are reportedly looking to ship the veteran guard to Denver for the rights to small forward Wilson Chandler. This change would give the Clippers someone that can be good on the defensive end as well as very efficient offensively. With Jordan back in the fold, this team would be even more solid defensively considering the additional piece. And the potential addition of Paul Pierce for the playoffs, the Clippers could gain that grit they needed when they lost to the Rockets. DeAndre could get paid the amount of money he wants while being put in a winning situation. Jordan also wants to be more featured offensively, but he has to ask himself if that is more important than being who he is and trying to win a championship. When he asks himself that, he would probably be inclined to go with the winning and money instead of wanting to be a featured guy. And like mentioned before, he has to get better at free throws to be more featured. Shaquille O’Neal and Wilt Chamberlain were terrible free throw shooters, but they were dominant post players where DeAndre isn’t. He should be happy being the caddy to Blake Griffin and the anchor of their defense. And who knows? It could pay off for him in the end.
Jordan has a tough decision to make and he does not have the biggest of windows. The more he waits, the more other teams try to move forward and make some other things happen in the free agency bonanza. He has to make a decision what he wants to be remembered for at this point. It should be interesting to see what he does, but if he is smart, he stays a Clipper. And if he returns to the Clippers, they could be a team to look out for next season in the West if they get the pieces they need via trades and free agency.