Just a few days ago, the Dallas Mavericks thought they had an NBA title-worthy roster. They got a verbal agreement from center DeAndre Jordan that he would sign a four-year/$80 million max contract. They also signed Wesley Matthews to a healthy contract.
Well, before you start looking at NBA betting lines, things went bad in a hurry for Dallas.
DeAndre Jordan started having cold feet about leaving the Clippers. He met with Blake Griffin and then a few other Clippers joined him (Chris Paul even ended his vacation early). They stayed with him until 12:01 am Thursday morning, the minute he was able to officially sign a new deal.
Why couldn’t Jordan sign before Thursday morning?
The NBA has a moratorium period to get all of the league’s finances in order. They figure out the upcoming year’s salary cap and luxury tax levels. July 9th is basically the first day of the league’s new fiscal year. Every league has some sort of period in which the league pauses all signings/trades. Trades and signings are often announced ahead of time, but nothing is official until the player signs a new deal.
Has a situation like Jordan’s ever happened before? Yes.
Hedo Turkoglu and Carlos Boozer both had similar events.
In 2009, Turkoglu opted out of a verbal agreement with Portland to instead sign with Toronto. He said his wife was the deciding factor in his decision.
Boozer’s contract situation in 2004 was much more shady. The Cleveland Cavaliers had a team option they could have moved forward with, but they came to an understanding that if they let Boozer become a restricted free agent, he would sign a six-year/$39 million contract. Well, Boozer decided to talk with Utah who offered him six-year/$70 million contract. A contract that Cleveland could match due to salary cap implications. Boozer is still hated in Cleveland to this day.
I’m sure Jordan will suffer the same fate in Dallas as Boozer has in Cleveland. This won’t sit well with Mavs fans or many hardcore sports fans that believe Jordan shouldn’t be able to back out of a verbal deal.
Forbes.com opines if Mark Cuban would have a case if he were to sue the Clippers. It would be interesting if Cuban were to go that route. I doubt we will see this situation play out that way, but it would be a landmark case of its kind in the sports world.
At the end of the day, Jordan will be back in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future and Dallas is left without a starting center (Tyson Chandler signed with Phoenix). Cuban’s offseason is far from over.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.