The DeAndre Jordan Sting Still Lingers in Dallas
It’s been over a year since DeAndre Jordan spurned the Dallas Mavericks to return to the Clippers, but the sting still remains.
It was just last week that I was kicked back on my couch in downtown Dallas waiting for Team USA to start the game against Spain. International ball is always a staple in my household when it is on tv, but watching USA brought a whole different excitement.
My wife, who is from Brazil, decided to take in the game with me as she fixed up one of her favorite Brazilian appetizers called pastel. As we kicked back and took in the game together, something became evident really quick…
“Isn’t that DeAndre, the guy who was supposed to come to Dallas and you got really upset about?” my wife proclaimed.
“Yup, that’s him.” I answered in a monotone voice.
As the game went along, it seemed like DeAndre grabbed every rebound in the game in high-flying fashion (he did have 16 in the game). But it was when he threw down the monstrous dunks that I would hear my wife say
“There’s that DeAndre guy again.”
It was at that moment I realized the sting of DeAndre still lingers.
Dallas was that close to landing one of the best young centers in the game. That close to forming one of the better starting units in the league. That close to not only landing, but locking in the most athletic center in the game for the prime of his career.
Now it’s been over a year since the Clipper entourage barricaded his home in Houston so that he could sign the offer sheet to remain a Clipper for the next five years. In a matter of 24 hours, fans in Dallas went from one of the happiest in the league to the most embarrassed.
The next 12 months consisted of him coming to Dallas to be welcomed with strong non-publishable words, putting up career numbers, and getting eliminated from the playoffs (which we all enjoyed).
Then the Olympics started and Mavs fans rooting for Team USA to bring home the gold had to cheer on the guy who broke their hearts last summer.
Maybe Cousins could play so well that DeAndre would barely see the court. Maybe his free throw shooting will be exposed even more and he won’t be as effective. Maybe, just maybe, Mavs fans won’t have to see him on the court THAT much.
Exactly the opposite happened and even more.
After a few close calls in group play, USA decided to switch up the starting unit by inserting DeAndre Jordan as the starting center. Not only was it the right move, but some considered it the best coaching move of the Olympics.
DeAndre’s presence above the rim on both ends of the court was almost an X-factor for USA as it gave them a whole different look. DeAndre finished the Olympics averaging more minutes than DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, and Kyle Lowry.
Coach K shared high praise to Bill Plaschke after the game against Spain where he grabbed 16 rebounds, nine points, and four blocks.
“We wouldn’t be playing for a gold medal if DeAndre didn’t play that well.”
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He continued his impressive play as Team USA went on to route Serbia for the gold medal the following Sunday. As the highlight reels ran and the friendships with the other players were formed, DeAndre was one of the faces of the gold medal USA team.
And he was that close to being a Dallas Maverick.
All of the feelings that I had slowly recovered from last summer had once again came to the forefront as I imagined what could have happened if he stayed true to his word and completed the contract with Dallas.
How would the Mavericks have finished last season with DeAndre up front? Who would have been the starting point guard last year? How would it have affected free agency this past summer? Would bigger free agents have been more open to coming to Dallas?
Next: Dirk Nowitzki vs. Karl Malone
We will never know the answers to those questions, but what I do know is that the sting still lingers…