One of the most ridiculous offseason moments of recent memory came in 2015 when DeAndre Jordan agreed to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, effectively breaking up Lob City, but then reneged to rejoin the Clippers.
Beyond the absurdity of Jordan backing out of the deal was the manner in which it happened. Players and members of LA’s front office met up with DJ at his home in Houston to convince him to come back, and to the eyes of the viewing public on Twitter, effectively barricade him from contact with Dallas.
Jordan returned to Los Angeles to play the Clippers for the first time last night, and Doc Rivers shared some of his memories pregame about the strangest day in free agency.
When asked if it was a weird day, Rivers deadpanned, “No, we had a good meal, food was great. DJ went out and got some fried chicken — it was funny watching Steve Ballmer eating fried chicken and collared greens. That was interesting.”
He went on to say, “But no, it was a weird day. I think it was far weirder on the outside of the room than on the inside of the room. People on the inside of the room, there was not a lot of stuff going on. Basically DJ told us he was staying within five seconds.”
Rivers then shed some light on the role of Paul Pierce in the saga, who had just agreed to sign with the Clippers that week and is probably best known for having tweeted a picture of a rocket in lieu of a transportation emoji. Rivers said he thought they would all leave immediately, but that Pierce had the idea to stay until the moment that Jordan could actually sign.
“It was smart by Paul because DJ had already proven he could change his mind,” Rivers said.
The Clippers proceeded to spend the rest of the day eating and watching summer league games, only leaving once the contract had been inked. That allowed Pierce to revisit a phrase he famously uttered after hitting a clutch shot in game 7 of the first round of the 2014 playoffs against Toronto.
That's why they brought me here lol pic.twitter.com/Z64Tkiyp01— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 9, 2015
Jordan went on to play out the first three years of his contract in Los Angeles before opting out of his final year to join Dallas anyway. He has played the most games with the Clippers (750) of any player in franchise history, and Rivers said yesterday he hopes Jordan is the first Clipper to have his jersey retired.