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If You're Reading This, it's Too Late, and DeAndre Jordan Has Left the Clippers

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What's been feared has come to pass.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Today is Friday, July 3rd. I'm not at home right now, but, as anticipated, DeAndre Jordan has announced his free agency decision today.  And, as many of us feared, he's leaving the Clippers.

This article will sit in the story editor all week, hopefully to be deleted upon DeAndre's re-signing with the Clippers.  But there it will sit, nonetheless, ready for publish should the worst come to pass.

If you're reading this, it's too late, and DeAndre Jordan has left the Clippers.

The longest-tenured Clipper, having spent all seven of his NBA seasons in Los Angeles, developed along with the franchise.  As he moved from 2nd-round pick to rotation-caliber player, the Clippers brought in Blake Griffin.  As he turned into a full-time starter, Vinny Del Negro was brought in as head coach.  When he began starting every game, Chris Paul joined him on the team and in the starting lineup.  When he blossomed into one of the best rim protecting centers in the NBA, it was under the tutelage of Doc Rivers, and when he made his first All-NBA and All-Defense team, the Clippers were in the playoffs in their first full season with Steve Ballmer as their owner.

It's unfortunate, and tragic for Clippers fans who have watched this franchise develop along with its athletic center, that we won't see another Jordan landmark accompanying the next for the team.  His first All-Star appearance won't accompany the Los Angeles Clippers' first NBA Championship, and it's a damn shame.

DeAndre Jordan exits with 14,560 regular season and playoff minutes played in a Clipper uniform, spread around 559 games, 447 of which he started.  He scored 4,522 points at a remarkable 66.4% clip, and grabbed 5,110 rebounds while swatting 989 shots out of opponents' hands.  He hasn't been absent from the starting lineup in four seasons.

DJ's iron man streak will continue elsewhere.  His career will continue to be successful, he will continue to make All-NBA teams and All-Defensive teams.  He'll still be an amazing shot blocker and rebounder.  He'll still shoot an extremely high percentage from the field, he'll still finish unbelievably athletic alley-oops, and he'll still miss a ton of free throws.

We'll still think fondly of him, and his time with the Clippers.  We'll still support his career and his character, and we'll find satisfaction in his successes, just as we do for Eric Bledsoe, Eric Gordon, and Shaun Livingston.  DJ is a fun, grounded, hard-working professional and he'll be that wherever his career takes him in the next decade.

For the Clippers, life goes on.  They'll find a new long-term center, whether it be this summer or in the future, and the franchise will continue, in five minutes, tomorrow, next week, next month, all season.  Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, and the supporting cast will still win regular season games and playoff series.  They'll still bring the first-ever championship to the Los Angeles Clippers franchise.

For now, though, the search begins.  The search for a new starting center, in the wake of DeAndre Jordan's departure.