Doc Rivers says DeAndre Jordan didn't need to call Mark Cuban

Doc Rivers says DeAndre Jordan didn't need to call Mark Cuban
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers and center DeAndre Jordan look for answers from the referees on Jan. 11. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said that even when DeAndre Jordan made an oral commitment to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, he knew it wasn't over.

"In my gut, it never felt like he wanted to leave," Rivers said Thursday during a conference call.


When Jordan expressed doubt over his decision to sign with the Mavericks, a Clippers contingent went to Jordan's hometown of Houston to persuade him to renege on his word with the Mavericks.

Rivers didn't get into the details on what was said during that meeting on Wednesday, but he did say that it was an incredible exercise in team building and that it brought the guys in attendance -- Jordan, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick -- much closer.

The Clippers' Coach said the rumors that Jordan and Paul have a strained relationship were overblown, but he did acknowledge that the two players had a heart-to-heart at Jordan's home on Wednesday.

"The hatred and all of that was so overblown, it was laughable," Rivers said, later adding, "That's not why DJ was considering leaving."

Rivers also addressed another one of Jordan's supposed gripes with the Clippers -- that he didn't have a big enough role in the team's offense.

Said Rivers: "DJ has never looked at himself as the third guy, and we haven't either. We look at him as one of the Big Three."

Rivers defended Jordan's decision to avoid Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban's phone calls on Wednesday, arguing that most NBA players have their agents handle those matters.

"Typically when free agents leave, their agent calls," Rivers said. "In our case, DJ was with us for seven years, and when he first decided to leave, his agent called me.... I've been turned down more than a freshman kid at a college bar, and I have yet to be turned down by the actual player."

Rivers added that Jordan should not be criticized for violating the unwritten rule of backing out of an oral agreement.

"These are career decisions that young people are making," Rivers said. "... That's life, it happens every day in business."

Rivers also cleared up the rumors that the Clippers had barricaded Jordan in his home until he was able to sign with the Clippers at 12:01 a.m. ET.

"It wasn't anything like that at all," Rivers said. "DJ left the house a couple of times. We all were free."

Rivers said that he was beyond relieved that the free agent center chose to re-sign with the Clippers, and even joked that when Jordan was leaning toward the Mavericks, Rivers started to consider some unusual options.

"I was considering Shaq for God's sake," Rivers said, laughing.


Rivers joked that he's thankful for the NBA's moratorium process, which gave Jordan the time and space to reconsider his decision with the Mavericks. When asked if he's worried that the Mavericks will use legal action against the Clippers, he said no.

"If they do, they do," Rivers said. "There's nothing we could do about that. There's a winner in every game."