In the summer of 2015, free agent center DeAndre Jordan gave the Dallas Mavericks his word that he would join their team. The deal was reported to be for four years and worth $80 million.
However, the coveted free agent big man later backed out of his verbal agreement with the Mavericks and re-signed with the LA Clippers at the last minute. To this day, it remains one of the strangest free agency sagas in NBA history.
Here’s the full story of what went down the day that Jordan changed his mind.
DeAndre Jordan initially agreed to sign with the Dallas Mavericks in free agency after the franchise offered to provide him with an increased role on offense. The deal was first reported on July 3, 2015, by ESPN’s Marc Stein.
However, because of the NBA’s moratorium period, the deal could not have become official until 12:01 a.m. ET on July 9. That was when Jordan was eligible to sign his new contract with Dallas.
Instead of just letting the center follow through on his decision, the Clippers decided to make a last-ditch attempt to change his mind.
It had previously been reported that DeAndre Jordan was already having second thoughts prior to the Clippers trying to get him back. When LA heard about this, they quickly met with Jordan at his house in Houston to talk things over.
The meeting reportedly included Clippers players Blake Griffin, JJ Redick, and Paul Pierce, as well as head coach Doc Rivers. It took place 12 hours before Jordan could officially sign his contract.
The team didn’t stop at just convincing DeAndre Jordan with their words. They reportedly did everything in their power to prevent him from talking with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and the franchise's front office again.
Cuban and Jordan’s agent, Dan Fegan of Relativity Sports, reportedly tried multiple times to contact Jordan, with no success.
Blake Griffin later tweeted a photo of a chair blocking the door of Jordan's house to mock the Mavericks, who seemed to have no access to the veteran center.
“Don’t agree with the furniture layout but I’m not an interior designer,” Griffin captioned the tweet.
Mavericks and Clippers players also got into a Twitter emoji battle, tweeting back and forth about the whole situation. They were all trying to one-up each other with emojis relating to fast travel.
This was in response to Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons' initial tweet of an airplane emoji, indicating he was flying in to meet with Jordan.
The emoji battle even included LA Clippers star Chris Paul, who was on vacation in the Bahamas at the time and was last seen riding a banana boat.
Veteran Paul Pierce also tried to join in, although it appeared that he didn't entirely understand how to use emojis.
The Clippers eventually held out at Jordan’s house until he was eligible to re-sign with the team. The team then officially re-signed him for on a four-year deal worth $87 million. Paul Pierce even tweeted a photo of Jordan signing the deal.
“That’s why they brought me here,” Pierce captioned the tweet.
Shortly after, the LA Clippers organization also sent out their own official tweet welcoming DeAndre Jordan back to the team.
Other reactions to the DeAndre Jordan-Dallas Mavericks saga
Many Dallas Mavericks fans were understandably frustrated with DeAndre Jordan after he backed out of his verbal agreement to sign with the team.
In doing so, he also prevented the Mavericks from being able to sign any other noteworthy free agent. This was because the Mavs were verbally tied to Jordan for a full five days during the heat of free agency.
Here are some of many fan reactions to the news:
DeAndre Jordan later apologized on Twitter to Mark Cuban and the Mavs fans for his actions.
However, Mark Cuban was quick to dismiss the apology.
Cuban later discussed the potential positives of the deal falling through.
It was certainly a messy situation. However, DeAndre Jordan and Mavs fans later reconciled after Jordan joined the team on a one-year, $24 million contract back in 2018.
He went on to play a total of 50 games for the Mavericks.