The press conference where the Los Angeles Clippers introduced their new free agents was a fairly de rigeur affair. The fact that DeAndre Jordan was one of eight people on the dais (seven players and Doc Rivers) was a little surreal. As far as I know, barring some exclusive of which I am not aware, this is the first time that DeAndre has answered direct questions from the press since his change of heart almost two weeks ago. So to see him in a forum the intent of which was to spread questions around a group of people was very strange.
Think about it. Josh Smith signing with the Clippers is a decent sized story. Austin Rivers re-upping on the team where his dad is the coach and the GM is important and unprecedented. Paul Pierce coming home and re-uniting with Doc to chase one more ring is a really big deal. But for now, we are all mostly interested in "DJ Does Dallas."
The media, myself included, played along. The questions were mostly softballs -- with the occasional dodge ball tossed in, which were by their nature easily dodged. Yes, Paul Pierce is a good story, but are we really as interested in his L.A. homecoming and Inglewood roots as we are in Jordan?
I was going to write that eventually DeAndre is going to have to answer some tough questions -- but in fact, he doesn't really have to. He's probably playing this exactly right. He made a mistake, but just ignore it to the extent possible, and count on the short attention span of the general public to take care of things.
About the only interesting thing I observed from this event was the obvious rapport between Doc and Pierce. It seemed almost inevitable that Pierce would eventually wind up with Doc on the Clippers, but it took three summers of rumors before it happened, to which Doc quipped "You should have been here last year." Pierce, it seems pretty obvious, is going to be a de facto assistant on this team. He has Doc's ear and full confidence, and can be a mentor to the young guys like Lance Stephenson and Wesley Johnson.
In the bigger picture, it is pretty exciting for Clippers fans to have such an assemblage of talent joining the team. Sure, DeAndre was already here, but after facing the reality of life without him, it feels good to see him holding the new jersey. In years past this events have featured the likes of Byron Mullens -- Cole Aldrich is the analog to Mullens and he was essentially invisible on the stage today. Adding Pierce and Smith, two guys who figure to make real contributions, to an already very good team, is potentially huge.
Me? I'm just excited to be here.