Now that the dust has seemingly settled with regard to which team in the NBA will get to pay DeAndre Jordan for his services next year, I would like to address much of the hubbub that surrounded that entire matter. Let me establish a couple of foundation pieces here:
DeAndre Jordan had a verbal agreement to join the Mavericks next year. Verbal agreements are not worth the paper they are printed on.
DeAndre Jordan broke no laws and broke no NBA rules in doing what he did by reneging on that verbal agreement with the Mavericks and resigning with the Clippers. In fact, the NBA rules and the CBA negotiated with the NBPA enable exactly this kind of behavior by all NBA free agents every year.
What DeAndre Jordan did do was to demonstrate that he not particularly trustworthy and that his word is not worth much. The deal he got from the Clippers reportedly gives him an opt-out year when he will be 29 years old. So, if you were another GM/owner, would you be putting much stock in whatever he said he was going to do in the midst of that time when only verbal deals can be negotiated but there is a waiting period until they can be put to paper? I have said this before in a different context but it applies here too:
Integrity is like virginity; you only get to lose it once.
I also do not hold DeAndre Jordan in high regard based on the fact that he was not big enough to call Mark Cuban and tell him straight up that he was not going to honor their verbal agreement. True, he had no obligation to do so; but it would have been the honorable thing to do. And for the record here, I have long thought that Mark Cuban is not a whole lot more than a self-promoting pompous ass who would do just about anything to be in front of a TV camera or a live radio mic. Notwithstanding that sentiment, Jordan owed Cuban the courtesy of learning about this directly from the source.
In addition, the media covering this mess of a situation went hyperbolic when relating DeAndre Jordan’s value and his defensive prowess. He is indeed a good defender and rebounder but let us keep this in the realm of reality:
DeAndre Jordan is not now and will not be “The Next Bill Russell”.
One final thing about the coverage that bothered me was an implicit double standard. Jordan was not lauded for his weaseling out of his agreement but he was portrayed as a young man who reflected on a decision and decided it was not in his best interest. Therefore, he was in the right – even if he may have handled it improperly. Now think how the reverse situation would have been portrayed:
Three days after the verbal agreement, Mark Cuban looks back at what he just agreed to and says to himself:
“Are you nuts? You are going to give this guy umpty-million dollars and he cannot shoot from outside dunking range. I am going to call a press conference to let everyone know that I changed my mind and he can go sign with anyone else he wants because I do not want him on my team.”
Somehow, if Cuban – or any owner – reneged on a verbal deal before the signing period opened, I doubt they would be treated nearly as kindly by the folks covering the story…
Greg Cote had this view of this situation in the Miami Herald:
“Clippers star De Andre Jordan agreed to terms with Dallas, changed his mind and resigned with Los Angeles. Tell me, is there anything in sports better than the sight of an angry helpless Mark Cuban?”
Now that we know that Jason Pierre-Paul blew off a finger in that fireworks accident a couple of weeks ago, I want to offer him a piece of career advice for the time when his NFL playing days are over:
Do not entertain the idea of becoming a “bomb disposal tech”. In that field, losing a finger is considered a “good day at the office”…
Keith Olbermann’s latest incarnation at ESPN lasted about 2 years. As I have recounted here before, I watched his show a couple of times a week and found it entertaining and informative – even on those occasions where I totally disagreed with the stances he took in his commentaries. I would like to think that ESPN will find some way to replace his program with a new “high-brow” show and not simply another re-run of SportsCenter or – perish the thought – First Take.
Bob Molinaro summed up my sentiments here in a recent comment in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“Out the door: If you are a fan of Keith Olbermann’s TV humor and homilies, too bad. Yet again, he and ESPN are parting ways. ESPN says it’s a business decision, while skeptics believe Olbermann’s critical harangues of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had something to do with the breakdown in contract negotiations. Business of a different nature, as it were, given the cozy relationship between ESPN and the NFL. At any rate, Olbermann’s departure lowers ESPN’s on-air IQ.”
Finally, here is a comment from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald earlier this month:
“Earlier this week a leap or extra second was added to the world clock. Mel Kiper Jr. used the extra second to release his first three mock drafts for the 2016 season.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………