Doc Rivers says DeAndre Jordan is 'a joy to be around'

Doc Rivers says DeAndre Jordan is 'a joy to be around'
DeAndre Jordan vies for position with Houston's Terrence Jones (No. 6) and Trevor Ariza on May 17. (Scott Halleran / Getty Images)

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan becomes a free agent July 1, and Coach Doc Rivers knows there will be stiff competition to get him.

"There's going to be a lot of teams [coming after him], and if they're not, there are a lot of dumb teams out there," Rivers said. "There's going to be a lot of teams coming after him that have money. There's a lot of them that don't, thank God. That helps us."

Jordan has been with the Clippers his entire seven-season career. This past season he had career highs in points (11.5), field goal percentage (71%), and rebounds (15). He also had four 20-20 performances, in which he had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds.

Rivers was so impressed with his center's production this season that he called other coaches to try to get Jordan voted onto the All-Star team. Rivers also said that if Jordan didn't win defensive player of the year, he'd launch an investigation.

Jordan ended up being overlooked for both of those awards, though he was named to the all-defensive first team for the first time in his career.

Jordan led the league in rebounds (15), defensive rebounds (10.1) and was fourth in blocks per game (2.23). He grabbed 1,226 rebounds in the 2014-15 season, setting a single-season franchise record for the Clippers.

Those numbers tell only part of the story, according to Rivers, who argued all season that much of what the center does on the defensive end doesn't even show up on the stats sheets, such as altering shots and preventing dribble penetration.

When Rivers was asked during the Clippers exit interviews if Jordan would be offered a maximum contract by the team when his contract expires, the coach pretty much said yes.

"Yeah, I think I can say that but I don't know if I can say that."

Rivers said that Jordan has progressed a lot as player under his tutelage.

"Two years ago when I came here, when I took this job everyone was telling me you got to move D.J." Rivers said. "You got to move D.J., D.J. doesn't do this, and I look at this guy now, and he's just a joy to be around.

"He's a great guy to coach, he's smart as heck and he's just one of those guys as a coach you want next to you."