Gil LeBreton

Clown league, clown move ambushed Dallas Mavericks

DeAndre Jordan’s decision to stay with the Clippers and break his promise to Dallas has left the Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki in a painful situation. But how much is the NBA itself at fault?
DeAndre Jordan’s decision to stay with the Clippers and break his promise to Dallas has left the Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki in a painful situation. But how much is the NBA itself at fault? AP

Clown league, clown move.

Only in the NBA would a team shamelessly persuade a free agent not to worry, that the player’s verbal agreement means nothing.

Only in the NBA would there be a rule that grants a seven-day period for this no-class deed to occur.

Only in the NBA could a clown such as DeAndre Jordan have the last laugh.

As Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban confirmed via his CyberDust account Thursday, Jordan didn’t even give him the courtesy of a final phone call.

What kind of coward does something like that?

Not that it would have mattered. But if, as the pro athletes always say, “It’s a business,” what made Jordan act like a guilty schoolboy and hide when Cuban came calling?

It was wrong. You and I know that the way Jordan chose to double-cross the Mavericks and re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers was wrong.

The Clippers’ delegation at Jordan’s Houston home, willingly playing the role of “hostage” takers, knows it was wrong.

And now watch — the NBA itself is going to validate that it was wrong when it soon strikes its required seven-day moratorium from the free-agent rule book.

This is the NBA, however, a league that’s tethered to an umbilical cord of salary cap loopholes. A league with more bloated and bogus contracts than even baseball.

A league where referees have tried to fix games. (Tim Donaghy served, what, 19 months in prison?)

We already know the NBA has rigged its own draft. (Cleveland just happened to get the No. 1 pick in 2003, Akron kid LeBron James? The Bulls just happened to get the ’08 No. 1, Chicago native Derrick Rose? The then-league-owned Hornets just happened to get the 2012 No. 1, Anthony Davis?)

A league where teams regularly try to tank games in a thinly veiled attempt to get the No. 1 draft choice.

A league of “back-to-back” scheduling, but the fans get no discounts when one team shows up DOA?

A league where Donald Sterling once owned the Clippers. Now it’s Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer’s team, and the Clippers have embarrassed the NBA again.

As Steve Aschburner researched and reported on Wednesday, Jordan’s about-face isn’t the league’s first one. There was the 2008 case, also involving the Clippers, with Elton Brand. There was Hedo Turkoglu in 2009, reneging on a deal with Portland and signing with Toronto.

Just three summers ago, Cuban and the Mavericks also thought they had an agreement with veteran Jason Kidd. But he turned down their three-year, $9 million offer and signed with the New York Knicks, leaving the Mavericks groping for a point guard.

In both Kidd’s and Carlos Boozer’s cases (2004), however, the players reneged on their existing teams. Which begs the logical question, why didn’t they re-sign the players in the months before their free agency kicked in?

Jordan’s double-cross was different, in that it precipitated a chain of other free-agent departures, affecting several other lives.

It says a lot about DeAndre Jordan, the former Texas A&M one-and-done.

Honesty and integrity? So much for the Aggie Code of Honor.

Until we hear Cuban’s side of the story — who would believe anything Jordan says after this? — it is hard to point fingers at anything the Mavericks owner did in all this. His lengthy quest for a big-name free agent had been well-documented.

But now the franchise is vulnerable. A dark winter looms ahead.

I can’t see Cuban gutting the franchise now just because, as some are claiming, “He said he would.”

He may well do that, but it won’t be because he mentioned it as a hypothetical on some radio talk show. Rather, it would be because Cuban has the interests of Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons to consider.

Relevancy and rebuilding are suddenly valid topics for conversation at Mavericks, Inc.

The idea of rebuilding through the draft should make every Mavericks fan shudder. Thanks to the Rajon Rondo trade with Boston, the franchise doesn’t even own its 2016 No. 1, unless it’s one of the top seven.

On the other hand, there will be plenty of salary cap room. (Rim shot, please?)

If Jordan had only communicated his free-agent “handshaker’s remorse” to the Mavericks early in the week, Cuban might have been able to do something, anything. At the least, Cuban would have been spared the ambush embarrassment that Wednesday brought.

Twitter exploded with emojis and tacky photo edits. Jordan’s integrity was forever disgraced. The Mavericks went from contenders to punch lines in 12 horrible hours.

A clown league, a clown move.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @gilebreton

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