The last remnant of Lob City will be departing after DeAndre Jordan informed the Clippers late Friday afternoon that he was opting out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent, according to NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Jordan’s decision to walk away from $24.1 million if he opted into his deal with the Clippers probably means the 6-foot-11 center will sign with the Dallas Mavericks after the free-agency period opens, according to officials.
His agent, Jeff Schwartz, had been given permission by the Clippers to seek a deal with the Mavericks. But the Clippers had been unwilling to do a sign-and-trade that would have netted them Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews and his expiring contract of $18.7 million, according to officials.
The two sides continued to negotiate, but things stalled when the Clippers sought two second-round draft picks from the Mavericks and not just the one Dallas had offered, according to the officials. The Mavericks still are willing and able financially to sign Jordan, who spent all 10 years of his NBA career with the Clippers, according to one official.
Free agency begins at 9:01 p.m. PDT Saturday and that’s when Jordan can agree to a deal with the Mavericks. Free agents can’t sign contracts with a team until the NBA moratorium is lifted on July 6.
The Clippers put themselves in position on Tuesday to have a replacement for Jordan when they traded guard Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards for center Marcin Gortat.
The Clippers had been hesitant to acquire Matthews because the team already has seven guards after the Rivers deal: first-round draft picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson, NBA sixth man of the year Lou Williams, defensive ace Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell.
The Clippers now have a roster of 14 players.
After the Clippers acquired Chris Paul in 2011 from New Orleans, the point guard, Jordan and Blake Griffin formed the high-flying Lob City act.
Paul requested a trade last offseason to the Houston Rockets, then Griffin was traded to the Detroit Pistons in January and now Jordan has left the Clippers as well.
Jordan became a three-time All-NBA player, making the first team in 2015-16, when he became an All-Defensive first team member for the second time. He averaged double digits in points and rebounds every season since 2013-14 while twice leading the league in rebounding — 13.6 in 2013-14 and 15.0 in 2014-15. He led the league in field-goal percentage five consecutive seasons and has shot 67.3% from the field for his career.
It is somewhat fascinating Dallas is inclined to deal with Jordan because he reneged on a verbal agreement with the Mavericks for a four-year deal during the free-agency period three years ago.
Jordan re-signed with the Clippers instead following spectacular emoji exchanges on social media after Paul, Griffin, J.J. Redick and Paul Pierce descended upon Jordan’s Houston home with owner Steve Ballmer and coach Doc Rivers.
Montrezl Harrell, a restricted free agent with the Clippers, has signed with agent Robert Petriella of Miami-based Rosenhaus Sports Representation, the company announced on Twitter. Harrell had been with Klutch Sports Group.