DeAndre Jordan finally chose where he’ll play the next portion of his career. The happy winner is the Dallas Mavericks, who earlier lost Tyson Chandler to the Phoenix Suns, but with Jordan will actually be featuring an upgrade.
This is obviously a huge boon for Mark Cuban and his Mavericks. Cuban has long coveted a premiere defensive big who’s still in his prime. He’s been reaching for this deal, pretty much since he bought the team. He’s gone through an assortment of bigs ranging from the aforementioned Chandler to Brendan Haywood.
Now, with Jordan locked up to a long-term deal, the Mavericks have arguably the best player at the rim in the league. He shot an NBA-best 71.0 percent from the field last year, notching 11.5 points per game, with virtually all his offense being inside the little semi-circle.
Per Basketball-Reference.com, he made 416 field goals at the rim and 21 away from it last season. That’s what we analytics guys like to call “limited range.” That being said, it’s still pretty darned efficient.
And in Dallas, the Mavericks aren’t going to be looking for Jordan to stretch the court. He’ll be the perfect complement to the legendary Dirk Nowitzki, who’s now the league’s seventh all-time leading scorer, with the vast majority of his points coming off his aesthetically perfect jump shot.
In addition to adding Jordan, the Mavericks have also lured Wesley Matthews away from the Portland Trail Blazers on a four-year deal. Matthews, a career 39.3 percent shooter from three, will replace Monta Ellis, who left for the Indiana Pacers.
A healthy Matthews is one of the better 3-and-D wings in the league, although he’s coming off an Achilles injury, one of the more difficult injuries to recover from. But if Matthews can return to form, the addition of him and Jordan should shore up a leaky Mavericks defense, which ranked just 18th in defensive rating last season, per NBA.com (they were also wretched in the postseason).
While the Mavericks will need to find a way to upgrade at point guard after parting ways with Rajon Rondo during last year’s playoffs, they’re clearly one of this summer’s winners by snagging Jordan and Matthews. It’s not often a team can lose its leading scorer and best defender and get better with their replacements.
This move has the added benefit of weakening one of the Western Conference favorites, the Los Angeles Clippers, who earlier in the offseason sent Jordan’s backup center, Spencer Hawes, to the Charlotte Hornets in a trade.
The Clippers currently don’t have too much flexibility in terms of replacing Jordan. They have limited money to offer free agents, and perhaps they pursue a Bismack Biyombo or Quincy Acy. Roy Hibbert is being shopped, and maybe something can be worked out with the Mavericks and Indiana Pacers that involves Hibbert, Jordan and Monta Ellis, but that seems like a major long shot. Kosta Koufos is on the market, and perhaps a sign-and-trade involving Jamal Crawford is an option:
Memphis has shown a willingness on sign-and-trades with free agent center Kostas Koufos, an option the Clippers will need to investigate.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 3, 2015
The Chicago Bulls may be shopping some of their extra big men, and Pau Gasol or Joakim Noah would fit the bill, though, Gasol might be easier to acquire because of his smaller contract. A straight Gasol-for-Redick swap might have appeal to both sides, but Redick was huge for Los Angeles last season.
Whatever the Clippers do, they’ve just taken a major hit. This likely takes them out of contender status for next year’s championship. And possibly vaults the Mavericks back into it if everything goes their way, although there’s still work to be done to round out the rest of the roster.