Mac Engel

Mavericks will have hard time rebounding from Jordan’s reversal

Free agent center DeAndre Jordan reversed last week’s decision to sign with the Mavericks and will instead return to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Free agent center DeAndre Jordan reversed last week’s decision to sign with the Mavericks and will instead return to the Los Angeles Clippers. AP

Mark Cuban is the visionary who likes to do things the new way, eschews the old rules, and sees things coming before the rest of us mortal morons.

In looking so far ahead he forgot to watch his six, and just “got got” by a fellow computer billionaire who outsmarted him by doing what Cuban “does better than anybody,” not following the old rules.

Former Microsoft CEO and LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer schooled the founder of and the star of Shark Tank in what it takes to close a deal in the new era of NBA free agency — it’s not done until it’s done. Cuban changed the NBA, and Ballmer just changed NBA free agency.

According to the latest reports from ESPN, and various Mavericks sources, “big fish” free-agent center DeAndre Jordan has changed his mind about the four-year, $80 million oral commitment he agreed to with the Mavs on Friday.

Hyland DeAndre Jordan reportedly is returning to the Clippers after their reported hard sell Wednesday at his home in Houston, which marks a full-blown DFW sports tragedy. Cuban’s plan to keep the Mavs as a title-contender via free agency can be officially declared an NBA disaster zone in need of emergency relief.

There is no NBA equivalent of FEMA, or a “Brownie” for G-Dub to call to help the local basketball team avoid certain irrelevance. He won’t have to blow it up because it will have been done for him by that human tornado/man-baby who figured out it’s easier to be a No. 3 in LA rather than the No. 1 in Dallas.

Jordan was the Mavs’ entire off-season.

Without Jordan, this team is going to absolutely stink. Who cares if Wesley Matthews signs here? If they win 35 games, Rick Carlisle should be in the Pro Basketball, Football, Hockey and Baseball Halls of Fame.

Reports from Yahoo Sports said the Clippers were doing everything in their power to block the Mavs, or DAJ’s agent, from entering Jordan’s Houston compound on Wednesday; the intention was to keep him locked in until 11 p.m. when NBA guys can sign contracts.

You can say a lot about Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones, but he would never have let this happen. He can convince a big fish to jump out of the water, into the boat and onto the cutting board without any bait.

Jordan’s final decision is not Cuban’s fault, but this plan is on him. This was not for a lack of effort, or desire. He had a plan, he tried, and it has exploded in his face. Even when the free agents want to come here they don’t want to be here. And I have no idea why they hate us.

It’s official – Cuban wasted Dirk Nowitzki’s final good years.

Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and now DAJ have all taken their turn listening to Cuban’s pitch why they need to take his money. Paul, actually, never bothered listening, and the rest said no thanks.

Mark, Godspeed on spinning this one.

At the Mavs’ press conference on Wednesday, GM Donnie Nelson said he could not comment on the situation. He doesn’t want to get fined.

This is what he should say: DeAndre, grow up. Wednesday’s news demonstrates he is an insecure 7-foot child who needs to be told it is not OK to stand on the dinner table and throw food on the floor while everyone eats. He wants the perks of being a high-paid, NBA celebrity without the responsibilities; had he signed with the Mavs, there would have been expectations he had never dealt with before.

What Jordan did to Cuban and the Mavs trumps anything the other divas of indecision — Dwight Howard and Brett Favre — ever pulled on their respective teams.

Every single Dallas Maverick player, coach, GM and owner should be livid with Jordan’s bush-league, last-second change of heart to remain with the Clippers rather than to honor his free-agent commitment to the Mavs.

That said, the Mavs’ future hinged on Jordan and his ability to defend, rebound, block shots, run, and dunk. Tyson Chandler is already gone to Phoenix, and the best remaining center on the team is a 7-foot-2 rookie from India who’s never played a competitive game.

Wednesday’s development is painfully cruel for Cuban.

He has been operating in the new era of NBA free agency that allows franchises to quickly build title-contending rosters rather than through the traditional draft route. In operating under this new method, he followed an old unwritten rule of NBA free agency that said once a player made a verbal commitment to a contract, it was over.

What Ballmer and the Clippers just did was to update NBA free agency into NCAA recruiting; the coveted NBA free agent is the coveted 18-year-old kid who can’t make up his mind. An oral commitment from an NBA free agent now means you don’t stop recruiting. It’s not over until the fax with the signed commitment is in the coaches’ office.

Jordan is just that — a kid. He is an absurdly talented big kid, but a kid who NBA teams need. Props to Ballmer and the Clippers for not giving up on him.

They changed his mind, which makes Cuban’s grand plan an unmitigated disaster with no relief in sight.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog

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