If you thought the free agency period couldn’t be any more bizarre and encapsulating, you were certainly in for an unexpected surprise on Wednesday afternoon thanks to the bizarre DeAndre Jordan saga that resulted in Jordan backing out on his agreement with the Dallas Mavericks and re-signing with the Los Angeles Clippers. In a sports era where offseason publicity is desirable, these fireworks weren’t too shabby. Unfortunately good things never go unpunished, as talks about the controversial moratorium period began to catch some steam.
Jordan has the right to make any decision he wants. But it has to be acknowledged that his route to re-signing with the Clippers was fairly unusual. After agreeing to that max contract with the Mavs, he began to have second thoughts and reached out to his “former” team. Jordan ultimately decided it was best to return to the city where he blossomed into one of the league’s best centers.
Between sifting through the Mark Cuban vs. Chris Broussard tweets and the more pertinent information pertaining to this frenzy, you had to wonder what the fallout would be. Chandler Parson bluntly vocalized his feelings on the matter, saying that Jordan was “scared” and wasn’t ready to handle the pressure of becoming a franchise player.
Cuban broke his silence about the situation when he posted a note detailing he hadn’t heard from Jordan since Tuesday night. Even a strong disdain for the Mavs owner shouldn’t cloud your judgment that significantly. What DeAndre did was incomprehensible and unprofessional.
But this situation also brought light to a different aspect that must be intensely scrutinized. The league has to address the dead weight period that’s the time before the signing roadblock is lifted.
The fact that team front offices are able to speak with agents and players but have to wait another week and a half before making signings official is flat out idiotic. I wouldn’t go so far to as to say it encourages reneging, but it surely does open the door for it. I’m just surprised that it’s not that prevalent.
Everyone likes to say that contractual agreements are solely predicated on money. Whoever pays the most will reap the benefit. And this may be true more often than not. But there’s no denying that these types of choices are amalgamations of business and personal decisions. Families play integral parts in this process.
With that said, it’s pretty simple to see how tough it’s to arrive at a place where you feel you’ve unequivocally made the right choice. However, there’s no excuse to exude a lack of professional etiquette. And with this ridiculous rule being intact, the NBA is playing a critical role in this catastrophe.
The league doesn’t want any of the free agency drama to obscure the NBA Finals, so they’ve ensured that it doesn’t ramp up until after the victory parade. If teams were allowed to just sign players on July 1, the talks would start prior to then. The fear is that said talks would prematurely intensify so quickly the Finals might be sabotaged, and the NBA Draft could be as well. In addition to this, the league uses the moratorium to calculate the salary cap figures for the next season.
Fixing this rule is so simple though. Just have negotiations and signings begin at the same time on or around July 10. In this case, teams would be allowed to formally meet with players and contracts could be inked on the spot. Under this system, Mark Cuban doesn’t get spurned.
It would also give the league time to calculate those important cap figures, and then teams could go into the beginning of free agency with a better idea of how much money they have to spend.
In my estimation, this wouldn’t take away from all the drama that transpires during this period. Players would still go on the “make me feel special” tours and teams would continue to oblige.
This method might actually make things a bit more interesting. With team executives being cognizant of players being able to sign right away, there might be an increased competitive feel to it.
Imagine players from the incumbent team actually holding these individuals hostage until they officially signed, like reports indicated the Clippers did (although it turns out those “hostage” reports couldn’t be further from the truth). Wouldn’t that be kind of…fun?
Although Cuban said it was untrue, can we picture owners driving around town desperately trying to track players down?
These things may never come to fruition, but it would undoubtedly become more attention grabbing.
Exactly five years after LeBron James’s contentious half-hour ESPN televised show where he announced he’d take his talents to South Beach, DeAndre Jordan gave us his best anniversary gift in the form of some indecisiveness.
While his decision to stay put in LA shouldn’t be criticized, the way in which he did should be. But the underlying root to the problem exists because of the NBA. Everyone expects this to be addressed in upcoming meetings. In unison, we can all agree that it should be.