After blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers are heading to an interesting offseason. They will need to improve their bench and not rely so heavily on their starters. But the Clippers first need to re-sign DeAndre Jordan, which will keep their core big three of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin together.
Jordan is an unrestricted free-agent and according to ESPN’s Arash Markazi, the Clippers are set to offer him a max five-year, $108 million deal. Jordan briefly touched on his upcoming free-agency after Game 7 but understandably didn’t want to elaborate since the Clippers just lost.
“I’ve been here for seven years so this is what I’m used to,” Jordan said. “But I’m not thinking about that, man. It’s still so fresh [Sunday night]. It’s tough.”
Re-signing Jordan would be a smart move by the Clippers. He anchors their defense and led the NBA in field goal percentage and rebounding this season. But Bill Reiter of Fox Sports is reporting that Jordan may not want to stay with the Clippers because of ongoing tension between him and Paul.
All season, multiple sources say, a growing schism has emerged between DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, and that it could contribute to Jordan’s decision to stay or go.
Sources say Paul’s well-known edginess and drive ground on Jordan’s nerves for much of the season. Contributing to the problem was Paul’s view that Jordan lacked the appropriate commitment to working on his free-throw game, including not working enough with the Clippers shooting coach on that issue, sources said.
“Things aren’t good there,” a league source familiar with the inner-workings of the Clippers organization said. Asked if the issues between the two were serious, the source said, “Oh yeah. (Jordan) might leave. He really might.”
Paul’s “edginess” may grate on Jordan but the two seem to be playing well and have experienced success together. Plus, Jordan is one of Paul’s favorite alley-oop targets.
Contrary to Reiter’s report, Doc Rivers told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports that Jordan loves playing for the Clippers and the two have a great rapport.
“You can’t take anything for granted, but DJ loves being a Clipper,” Rivers told Yahoo. “DJ loves being here. We have an amazing relationship.”
It is tough to see Jordan leaving the Clippers, especially since he has blossomed under Rivers. The Clippers head coach even touted Jordan’s defense throughout the season by repeatedly saying that DeAndre should have been the Defensive Player of the Year. Why leave a situation where your coach is your biggest supporter?
Jordan is one of the bigger names in free-agency this summer. With rumors that the Dallas Mavericks are interested in his services and reports like this, it will be interesting to watch where he ends up.
Source: CBS Sports