As player-fan relationships go, things will probably get a bit uncomfortable for Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on Wednesday at American Airlines Center.
Jordan is the player who was all smiles on July 3 when he committed to sign a free-agent contract with the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs had committed to making Jordan their featured player.
I think [the fans are] going to have fun with it. You know, that’s what they should do. You come to games to have fun.
Owner Mark Cuban on the reaction he expects DeAndre Jordan to receive in Dallas
Unfortunately, during one of the oddest periods in NBA free agency, five days later, Jordan reneged on the deal. Thus, the 6-foot-11 center re-signed with the Clippers so he could continue playing in the shadows of All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Jordan will play his first game in Dallas at 7 p.m. Wednesday since he decided he didn’t want to play for the Mavericks.
“It’s another game, man,” Jordan said. “I mean, it’s going to be hostile, but it’s supposed to be.”
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Even owner Mark Cuban said he plans to boo Jordan. Beyond that, Cuban explained that the NBA forbids him and his organization from doing anything to incite the crowd.
“I wish we could, but we can’t,” Cuban said. “I was going to play the meow mix where the cat goes “Meow, meow, meow, meow. I think [the fans are] going to have fun with it. You know, that’s what they should do. You come to games to have fun.”
But the fun meter, in this case, will probably be sky-high.
“Look, this is not thermonuclear war,” Cuban said. “This is a basketball game and for the fans, it’s supposed to be fun.”
Maybe, but the Mavericks’ fan base was incensed by Jordan’s rejection and failure to return a phone call or text message from Cuban to inform the Mavericks of his plans to re-sign with the Clippers. Jordan also didn’t return text messages or phone calls from Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons, a longtime friend who helped recruit Jordan.
D.J. will handle it well. He’s a big boy, he’s an adult and I think it will bring out the best in him.
Clippers guard J.J. Redick
Cuban last received a text message from Jordan on July 7 at 11:56 p.m. Cuban said: “That’s when he told me he was on a date.”
Jordan’s “date,” Cuban later discovered, was with Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
Despite the hostility Jordan is expected to receive in Dallas, the Clippers expect him to handle the reception with aplomb.
“D.J. will handle it well,” Clippers guard J.J. Redick said. “He’s a big boy, he’s an adult and I think it will bring out the best in him. D.J. always responds to those types of atmospheres. It doesn’t have to necessarily be negativity toward him, but he thrives off that energy, so I expect him to have a big game.”
Jordan likely will be more motivated to play against the Mavericks considering the extra attention he’ll receive from the fans.
“It’s another Western Conference team that we’ve got to beat — a good organization,” Redick said. “But we have bigger things that we’re trying to do.”
Cuban, with tongue in cheek, tried to downplay the significance of what transpired between Jordan and himself more than four months ago.
“The whole thing happened in a week,” Cuban said. “That’s not a foundation for anything. It’s not like we were lifelong friends, it’s not like we used to date, it’s not like he was the best man in anybody’s wedding that I even know, so there’s nothing there. If it would have been a long, drawn-out process, maybe.”