According to sources, the Los Angeles Clippers are exploring DeAndre Jordan trade options with multiple teams.
Chris Haynes of ESPN.com was one of the first to break the new, reporting Tuesday that the Clippers have had “exploratory” talks with a few teams, including the Phoenix Suns.
ESPN Sources: Los Angeles Clippers surveying landscape for potential DeAndre Jordan trade. https://t.co/2MuTa757uS
Los Angeles Clippers Exploring DeAndre Jordan Trade Options
Los Angeles reportedly offered Jordan to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Tyson Chandler and the No. 4 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, but the offer was declined.
Jordan averaged 12.7 points, 13.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks starting for the Clippers last season. The athletic 28 year-old center also earned his first All-Star selection and was named a third-team All-NBA selection for the second time. Jordan also contributed significantly to the United States’ 2016 Olympic win in Rio de Janeiro, bringing him much deserved recognition.
Odd Timing for Trade Talk?
The timing of trade talks involving Jordan is interesting. Three of the Clipper’s starting five are heading for free agency: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick. Few would fault these stars for signing elsewhere for a viable chance at a title. The Clippers’ “big three” of Jordan, Paul and Griffin have underwhelmed in the Playoffs, despite having stretches of brilliant play during the regular season. The calls to blow up the Clippers core have never been louder. Nonetheless, it seems odd that the Clippers would seriously seek to trade Jordan until they know with certainty what’s going on with their free agents.
Isn’t it Ironic?
The idea that Jordan may be the first (or only?) of the Clippers’ “big three” to leave Los Angeles is also ironic given the 2015 fiasco surrounding Jordan’s near trade to the Dallas Mavericks in 2015.
What the Clippers Lose Without Jordan
Although Jordan has received more attention and accolades in the past year than years prior, he is still one of the more undervalued bigs in the NBA. Fans love his dunks and blocks, but then criticism him for “only” being able to do those things. These critics simply don’t appreciate the nuances in Jordan’s game; the things he does that are not reflected in stat sheets.
Jordan’s mere presence on the floor changes the way opponents run their offense. Even the most crafty of players steer clear of the lane and alter their shots to avoid the NBA block leader’s long reach.
The offensive threat of Jordan’s shot efficiency (74.1% in 2016-17; 67.7% for career), requires defenders to collapse, allowing perimeter shooters room to work.
Jordan was nothing short of brilliant in the Clippers’ unsuccessful bid for a championship this past season, logging a double-double in all seven playoff games played against the Utah Jazz. He averaged an impressive 15.4 points and 14.4 rebounds for the series.
Notably, the Clippers lack a viable back-up center. Marreese Speights was not an effective replacement for Jordan, despite having a handful of strong games for Los Angeles during the 2016-17 season, and has opted out of his contract with the Clippers to explore free agency. Brandon Bass and Diamond Stone simply don’t have the skill set or experience to fill Jordan’s shoes. Although the NBA has quickly developed into a guard’s league, the Clippers’ need a quality big man. Unfortunately, quality big men are hard to find.
Complete Blow Up May Be Necessary
After this season’s devastating first round early exit from the Playoffs, the time may be perfect for a complete overhaul of the Clippers, including a Jordan trade. The franchise has no up-and-coming talent to speak of, and are severely lacking in the way of future draft picks. At some point, paying exorbitant amounts of money for a core that has not been able to get the job done in the post-season is something even billionaire owner Steve Ballmer will no longer be willing to do.
LOS ANGELES, USA – FEBRUARY 22: DeAndre Jordan (6) of LA Clippers reacts during NBA basketball game between Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Sunsat Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, United States on February 22, 2016. (Photo by Mintaha Neslihan Eroglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)