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Don't Hit the Panic Button on DeAndre Jordan Yet

Relax. Take a deep breath.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

DeAndre Jordan will meet with other teams.  Don't sound the alarms quite yet.

According the the LA Times article in question, "Jordan wants to be more involved in the offense and wants to be an All-Star, and he's not sure whether those things can happen on the Clippers with All-Stars Paul and Blake Griffin."  Well, duh.  That's hardly shocking.  I'm pretty sure that anyone in this league wants to be more involved in offensive gameplans and make an All-Star game.  The question should be about his priorities, not his wants.

DeAndre Jordan wanting these things is fine.  He should.  On the day that DJ says (and not "is rumored to believe per an anonymous source") that he would rather go to a team where he would be more involved in the offense than play on a good team, we'll worry about losing him.  When he says that being the best or second-best player on his team so that he can post stats that will put him into an All-Star game instead of signing with the Clippers for more money, we'll worry about losing him.

For now, though, DJ would still be making a pretty bad decision should he leave the Clippers.  It's highly likely that outside of Doc Rivers' system, his defensive value would be reduced (although not diminished altogether), and I'm not sure what his definition of a larger offensive role would be given his lack of a developed offensive skill set.  Does he want isolations in the post?  Well, he can't face up, he can't shoot from further than 5 feet out, he doesn't have tons of strength or a soft touch down low, and if he gets in position to score (read: dunk), the other team will just foul him and sent him to the line, where he's abysmal.  These limitations are still going to be there if DJ leaves the Clippers.

Moving on to the point about wanting to be an All-Star, the article is correct in stating that it will be hard for Jordan to reach that goal playing alongside two others.  However, I think that it will be harder for him to do it elsewhere.  DJ simply isn't going to post much better averages than the 12 points and 15 rebounds he averaged per night this season, and if he does score more it will come at a massive reduction in efficiency.  If Jordan isn't playing with two All-Star caliber players, his team is simply not likely to be very good.  He's not anywhere near good enough to be "the guy" on a team, and he's not the #2 guy on any team with championship aspirations.  If DJ is going to make an All-Star game, given his style of play and offensive limitations, it will be because he is on the best team in the league as their 3rd-best player, and given the success of the team, the coaches opt to award them with an additional All-Star selection.  Now, tell me this: are any of his suitors going to give him a better chance of that than the Clippers?

Reports indicate that DJ will meet with the Lakers, Bucks, Mavericks, and Knicks at the start of free agency, with the Clippers and Mavericks supposed to be the favorites.  Yes, the Dallas Mavericks, where he'll get a couple more years of playing with an aging Dirk Nowitzki on a fringe playoff team that just forced Monta Ellis out, and then be a part of a long-term one-two punch on a lottery team with Chandler Parsons as his running mate.  How attractive does that sound?  Look, there's nothing wrong with meeting with other teams.  It's a part of being a free agent, it's a part of negotiating, it's a part of being a young superstar and enjoying the courtship and attention of several billion-dollar organizations.

The Clippers can offer DeAndre Jordan a longer contract, more money, a #3 role on a contender, and the L.A. lifestyle that he's shown himself to love (maybe even a little too much) in his 7 seasons with the team.  From taking a flier on him in the 2nd round, to investing over $40 million in him as an unproven prospect in restricted free agency, to turning him into an All-NBA Third Team player, the Clippers have nurtured his career and he has thrived here.  There's no reason to turn away from a good thing now, and I'm sure that DeAndre knows that as well as everyone else does.  He'll do his due diligence in free agency.  He'll take his meetings and  he'll have fallbacks if negotiations with the Clippers fall through for some reason.  But when it comes time to put pen to paper, we all know what jersey he'll be wearing on opening night.