When news broke that DeAndre Jordan was having cold feet about signing with the Dallas Mavericks and would likely return to the Los Angeles Clippers, a lot of people thought a lot of different things.
“I thought like 100 different things,” Orange County Register Clippers writer Dan Woike said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think one of the things I definitely thought was if I was never allowed to change my mind, all sorts of embarrassing things would still be happening. I actually posted a picture of myself with frosted tips from high school. I’d still be going to DMB concerts with puka shells on my neck. People are allowed to change their minds about stuff.”
Frosted tips and puka shells, however, aren’t exactly on par with NBA max contracts.
“Obviously my decisions didn’t impact the franchise the way DeAndre’s have impacted Dallas,” Woike said. “And that adds this whole other element to it where it’s like, it wasn’t unfair necessarily. Certainly (it wasn’t) illegal in the sense of the rules. On the one hand, you want a guy – especially a guy like DeAndre, who’s very likable – you want him to be in the best situation for himself and you want him to be happy. But obviously seeing how this all played out, it could have been handled better.
“From a reporter’s standpoint, it was a blast,” Woike continued. “Watching this and trying to decipher what this emjoi meant versus that emoji – in my four years of covering the Clippers, I’ve gotten to cover some pretty outrageous things. I was in the court room during the Sterling trial last year. I don’t know exactly where this ranks in terms of weird Clippers coverage, but this is pretty high.”
When Jordan initially agreed to terms with Dallas, multiple sources told Woike it was out of a desire to be the man.
“People always assume he just wants to score more and he wants the ball more,” Woike said. “I think that was part of it, but I think it was a desire to get kind of the recognition that he felt – and people in his camp felt – (he deserved) . . . and get a little bit out of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul’s shadow. He was going to have to leave. There was a notion that he was always going to be third fiddle for the Clippers. I think time away from Mark Cuban, Chandler Parsons, his agent, (he) came back to Houston – I think he realized that either wasn’t as important to him as he thought or it wasn’t necessarily 100 percent true. This year, he was able to get some recognition.”
Jordan, 26, was named to the All-NBA Third Team this past season. He was also a First-Team All-Defensive player, has led the league in rebounding each of the last two years and was one of the most coveted players in free agency. Los Angeles also offered more money and better talent.
“Being able to think about all that stuff, I think that kind of leads to a change of heart,” Woike said. “I think you add all of that stuff together and (he) realized it was a better deal for him to be a Clipper.”