The Dallas Mavericks stepped to the plate in Summer Shopping and, against all odds, hit a grand-slam home run ... only to see it ruled a foul ball by an umpire named ... DeAndre Jordan.
Today is one of the most absurd days in free-agent history. Some of that absurdity doesn’t matter, like the fact that the NBA became enthralled in a somewhat hilarious game of Twitter Emoji one-upping.
The Pursuit of DeAndre Jordan As Told Through Emojis pic.twitter.com/0rp8A1FH5H— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) July 8, 2015
But as we are stationed at the AAC, here is the meat and potatoes of the situation the Mavs find themselves in:
The story ...
Goes like this: DeAndre Jordan was still torn about the decision (the decision that he already made, mind you) to join the Dallas Mavericks with a new four-year, $81.13 mil deal. The Clippers, looking to jump on the indecisiveness of their former big man, received his second-thought vibe and went for one last-ditch effort to court him at his home in Houston.
Because Jordan can’t sign a contract with anyone until July 9, the Clippers felt they could convince Jordan to go back on his word. Upon hearing about this, Mark Cuban, who was supposed to be present in Dallas for the Mavericks’ rookie press conference, instead flew to Houston. He was met there by Chandler Parsons. who had previously been a huge part of the Mavericks’ Bromance recruiting campaign.
This situation comes out of an NBA rule that needs to be remedied in the future. While we have technically been calling the last week and change “free agency” this has actually just been what is called a “moratorium period.” On July 1st, NBA players are allowed to discuss terms of a deal with other teams, but there is nothing official until July 9th when they can officially put pen to paper.
The era that we live in does not bode well with this outdated type of scheduling. Hours after midnight on July 1st, players are “agreeing” to free-agent deals and they are immediately being reported by the media. When something like this happens, it disrupts the entire way free agency operates. Because every team and player essentially uses the moratorium period to strike deals that are unofficially official, then the free-agent market shrinks in that amount of time. Sure, Jordan’s commitment might have not been inked on paper, but the Mavericks still had to work under the assumption that every other player who has agreed to terms with a team (which is nearly all of the top free agents) would be unattainable.
This type of thing could ruin relationships and damage reputations. The intention of the moratorium period is so that the players have time to process and understand the changes to salary cap and other financial implications. This is sensible, but considering people are paid to understand and explain this information, the time should be shorter. Maybe 24-48 hours. Any longer and you have a dried up free agent market, which dooms any team who makes a commitment to a free agent willing to go back on his word.
Perhaps without the moratorium period, Jordan would have taken this long to make his decision anyway. That is still a better situation than to be under the assumption, based on an agreement, that Jordan had stopped entertaining any other possibilities.
DeAndre Jordan's Dallas Mavericks career: pic.twitter.com/aoMjlv99f0— ProSportsTalkRT™ (@ProSportsTalkRT) July 8, 2015
It is unsavory that the Clippers would violate this unwritten rule? Indeed. But this is a franchise-maker/breaker in Dallas and it is the same in L.A. So they are "breaking'' a rule to keep the franchise from suffering the same fate. It is also troublesome that Dallas' pinpointed "franchise player'' is this much of an unstable flake.
DeAndre Jordan is represented by Dan Fegan, who represents a large contingency of NBA players. He also represents Chandler Parsons.
If Jordan is to backtrack and choose the Clippers, he will set a precedent for how things can operate during free agency. Perhaps that precedent needs to be set in order for change to be made. However, Fegan does not want his client to be the one setting that precedent. It takes legitimacy away from his future dealings, as though you don’t want to make a large-scale commitment with one of his clients unless you know that it can take effect immediately.
It would be in Fegan’s best interest to convince Jordan to stick to his commitment.
Mark Cuban made the statement to DB.com and elsewhere that the Mavericks would have had to consider tanking in the upcoming season if they had missed out on Jordan.
While the organization is not going to blindly follow-through with a plan made out of a hypothetical, it is certainly a path that many might see as sensible without enough star power to realistically compete in the West.
It could not be a "slight tank,'' though. It would have to be all-out. The Mavericks traded a top-seven protected draft pick to the Celtics in the Rajon Rondo deal meaning that if the Mavericks finish with, say, the eighth worst record they will have to give their pick to the Celtics.
Other scary factors to consider: Dirk Nowitzki can retire at any point if the rebuild is something he does not want to hang around two years for. Parsons will have an opt-out of his contract after next season. Rick Carlisle may not be willing to commit to a complete rebuild of the roster. ... and suddenly, Team Tank looks even less attractive than you might've first envisioned.
The Last Meeting
Jordan promised Cuban one last meeting late Thursday night. Take this how you will. Could be just a sign of respect before the inevitable blow. Could be that he really is so indecisive that he needs one last meeting to be convinced either way. We really won’t know until he makes a decision. Maybe Dallas needs to pitch the concept that Clippers star guard Chris Paul didn't care to get involved until it was "too late.'' Or maybe there is one more pool party Parsons can invite DJ to. But this is a fact: If you think it's hard to recruit a big-fish free agent in the NBA, try re-recruiting him -- a task with a difficulty level that's unknown because it's never been required.
Today more than ever, we're a bit embarrassed to be so engrossed in children's games being played by overgrown children. We're a bit taken aback at how Parsons and Cuban have shown a cockiness in their recruiting abilities that they’ll have re-earn tonight. And we're a bit disappointed that DeAndre Jordan has shown a flakiness in his courtship that he may never shed, not tonight, not ever.