Almost three years to the day after first agreeing to a free-agent deal, DeAndre Jordan and the Dallas Mavericks are ready to take the leap again. They agreed over the weekend to a one-year contract for a little more than $24 million, according to multiple reports. If and when the deal's completed Friday, when the NBA's summer moratorium on free-agent contracts lifts, it will largely complete the Mavs' off-season business.
The reason Jordan's contract requires the caveat of "if," rather than just "when," of course, is his history with the Mavericks. During the summer of 2015, the free-agent center agreed to a four-year, $80 million deal with Dallas but changed his mind before the signing blackout ended and stayed with the Los Angeles Clippers.
This time around, the Mavericks seem confident that Jordan will live up to his commitment despite leaving the team in the lurch before. In 2015, Jordan was returning to a Clippers team that had, arguably, the NBA's best point guard in Chris Paul. The Clippers looked like they might be more capable of competing in the playoffs, and they made the playoffs for two years, losing in the first round both times.
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The Clippers missed the playoffs last year, however, just like the Mavericks, and appear to be headed nowhere fast. The Mavs, on the other hand, have a couple of young star players in Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes, as well as the third pick in the 2018 draft, Luka Doncic. With Jordan, the Mavericks become a fringe playoff contender and a lot more fun to watch.
The Mavs won't compete for a championship — the Warriors and Rockets are simply too good for anyone else in the Western Conference to contemplate taking down for the next couple of years. They will, however, be worth watching on TV almost every night.
Jordan is one of the best rebounders in the NBA. He can also go up and get lob passes around the rim from all angles, making him an appealing target for Doncic, already an All-Star-level passer, and Smith. The Mavericks have all the pieces in place for a quick-passing, high-flying offense in 2018, allowing the team and its fans to have fun as it attempts to build its way back to championship contention.