Los Angeles is pretty familiar with drama and soap operas, but Wednesday had to test the boundaries of belief and reality.
DeAndre Jordan was leaving the Clippers for the Mavericks. Then he wasn’t. Then he wasn’t sure. Then the Clippers essentially held him hostage in his Houston home.
It was a crazy day.
“Yeah, I don’t think the Clippers, Los Angeles – or the NBA, for that matter – has seen anything quite like it,” LA Times Clippers writer Ben Bolch told Damon Amendolara, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show.
We’re still not sure how we got here, either. For starters, why was Jordan so seemingly eager to leave Los Angeles? Did the Clippers just take for granted that he would re-sign?
“I’ve heard that sentiment quite a bit, and I’m not sure I agree with it,” Bolch said. “Doc Rivers has been DeAndre Jordan’s biggest proponent all season long and has been pitching him for Defensive Player of the Year. When the season ended, he said that re-signing DeAndre was a top priority. He said they were going to give him max money.”
Well then what happened?
“I think what happened here was this was the first time DeAndre Jordan went to all the dinners and the pitch meetings and was an unrestricted free agent – and I think his eyes just lit up by wanting to be wanted by somebody else,” Bolch said. “I think he kind of got infatuated with the attention that the Mavericks lavished on him. He said ‘This sounds great,’ and then sat back a day or so later and said, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe they don’t give me the best chance to win. Maybe I really am happy being a Clipper. Maybe I really will miss Blake Griffin.’ I think all those things were kind of percolating in his head and kind of led to what happened.”
Let’s just hope Chris Paul is happy about what happened. Jordan and Paul reportedly have not gotten along over the years, but some say that storyline has been overblown.
So, let’s ask Bolch: On a scale of 1 to 10 – 1 being “We hate each other’s guts” and 10 being “We’re BFFs for life” – where does the relationship stand?
“I would probably put it at a 5 or a 6,” Bolch said. “I think they do genuinely appreciate each other and get along for the most part. Obviously there were little blowups: Chris Paul jumping up and down in DeAndre’s face when he didn’t put back a basket against Portland with just seconds left in the game, and another time where he verbally belittled him during a game. These things do add up, and Chris can be kind of a yappy player. He’s acknowledged as much. He’s the ultimate competitor. He’s kind of Kobe-like in his demeanor toward teammates sometimes. I think, frankly, these are all kind of a byproduct from that. But I don’t think it’s going to keep them from being essential components of a potentially contending team next year. I think it’s something they can move past. In fact, I think having gone through this and having this aired publicly could make their friendship stronger going forward.”