Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had a huge victory Friday when free-agent center DeAndre Jordan agreed to sign with his team instead of returning to the Clippers, with whom he had spent his entire-seven season professional career.
In an interview with the sports-talk radio station The Ticket, Cuban said he sees DeAndre Jordan as a franchise player. On the Clippers, Jordan was playing behind superstars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.
"We see him as "Shaq-like" but never having been given the opportunity," Cuban told the radio show. "We told him if he came to the Mavs, he would be a focal point. He would grow into being a franchise player."
Though Jordan led the league in rebounds (15) and field goal percentage (71%) and averaged a career-high 11.5 points a game last season, he was never a focal point on offense.
Jordan had a real chance to show off what he could do on the offensive end when Blake Griffin was sidelined for 15 games because of a staph infection in his right elbow that required surgery from late February to mid-March. During that stretch, the Clippers center finished with multiple 20-20 performances, and several near-20-20 performances. He went on to cap off the year with four such monster games.
"We told him that you'e capable of being a 20-20 guy," Cuban told the radio show. "You're just not being given the opportunity."
Cuban said that Jordan was "like the eighth option" on the Clippers, and he could be the first option on the Mavericks because superstar 37-year-old Dirk Nowitzki was no longer interested in that role.
Nowitzki returned from a family vacation to meet with Jordan and try to convince him to come to the Clippers. Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons also spent a lot of time persuading the center to come to Texas. None of the Clippers players were present at the Clippers' meeting with Jordan on Thrusday.
Jordan agreed to sign with the Mavericks for four years and $80 million, with an opportunity to opt out after the third year. Jordan could have signed a five-year maximum deal for $108 million with the Clippers, but because Jordan is not subject to state income taxes with the Mavericks, the money difference was largely negated.
Cuban told the radio show that he thinks Dallas will be the perfect place for him to shine, something he wasn't able to do to the level he had wanted in L.A.
"L.A. is the city of everybody thinks they're a star, and it's hard to stand out," Cuban said.