Sources: Jordan picks max deal with Mavericks
DeAndre Jordan is leaving the Los Angeles Clippers to join the Dallas Mavericks.
Sources told ESPN.com that Jordan and the Mavericks have agreed to a four-year maximum contract worth more than $ 80 million that includes a player option after the third season to allow the highly coveted center to return to free agency in July 2018.
After years of striking out on big-name free agents, the Mavericks finally landed a core to buoy the team in Dirk Nowitzki’s golden years.
The chance to be featured as the Mavericks’ new franchise player and return to Texas after playing at Texas A&M in college, sources say, is leading Jordan to leave the Clippers, with whom he consistently has been cast as a third wheel behind L.A. stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
“We think he is going to be our best player for years to come,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban told ESPN.com via CyberDust. “A franchise player for the rest of his career.”
In their pitch to Jordan earlier this week, the Mavericks included recorded messages from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and star wide receiver Dez Bryant, playing to Jordan’s well-known fandom of the Cowboys and Bryant in particular.
Jordan also met with the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, but his decision had been expected to come down to the Mavs and Clippers.
Dallas received a verbal commitment from free-agent shooting guard Wesley Matthews on Thursday night for a four-year deal expected to average in the $ 13 million range, sources said.
Dallas, led by the efforts of small forward Chandler Parsons, relentlessly recruited Jordan and Matthews. Parsons traveled to Los Angeles the night of the draft to spend time with the Mavs’ top two free-agent targets. He was later joined by star Dirk Nowitzki, Cuban, coach Rick Carlisle, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and athletic trainer Casey Smith.
|Griffin In||Griffin Out|
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The Mavs’ contingent split into two parties as free agency opened, hosting dinner meetings with both Jordan and Matthews. Jordan met again with Dallas officials the next day, when sources said he was particularly impressed by a basketball strategy discussion with Carlisle, who dined with Matthews and not Jordan the previous night.
Jordan finished first in the league in field goal percentage (.710) and rebounds per game (15.0) in 2014-15. He was the first player to do so in back-to-back seasons since Wilt Chamberlain in 1971-72 and 1972-73. Jordan’s field goal percentage was the second-highest in NBA history behind Chamberlain’s .727 in 1972-73.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers made the case for Jordan to be named the defensive player of the year for much of the season, but he finished third in voting for the second consecutive season. The 26-year-old center, however, was named to the All-NBA third team for the first time in his career.
Jordan became the only player in NBA history to average at least 13 rebounds per game while shooting at least 70 percent from the field in a postseason as the Clippers fell one victory short of their first conference finals berth, losing to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
While Jordan averaged a career-high 11.5 points per game last season, he shot 39.7 percent from the free throw line and is a 41.7 percent shooter there for his career. “Hack-a-Jordan” has become a common practice for opponents, but the Clippers are 12-0 during the regular season when Jordan attempts 14 or more free throws.
With Jordan choosing the Mavericks, the Knicks agreed to a deal with free-agent center Robin Lopez, sources said.
ESPN.com’s Arash Markazi contributed to this report.