Clippers play waiting game after making pitch to DeAndre Jordan

Clippers play waiting game after making pitch to DeAndre Jordan
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan finishes off a dunk against the Mavericks on March 13. Which uniform will he be wearing next season? (Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

Like the moment he collects a lob in his massive hands, it's all up to DeAndre Jordan now.

The free-agent center heard a comprehensive pitch Thursday night from the Clippers, the last of four teams to woo one of the NBA's top defenders and rebounders over a two-day span.

Clippers executives touched on a variety of topics during the three-hour meeting, including increased marketing opportunities for a player who has lagged in that department behind teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, star pitchmen for several national brands. Coach Doc Rivers also addressed tensions between Paul and Jordan that have given the center pause about his desire to continue playing for the only NBA team he has known in his seven professional seasons.

A person close to Jordan who attended the meeting described the Clippers' presentation as "tight," saying "they had their stuff together."


Jordan was expected to weigh everything he had heard from the Clippers, Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks over the previous 48 hours and make a decision as soon as Friday, though there was some thought he would wait for free-agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge to pick a team before declaring his intentions.


The Clippers contingent that met with Jordan at the office of his Beverly Hills agents included Rivers, team owner Steve Ballmer, President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker, General Manager Dave Wohl and Assistant General Manager Gary Sacks.

Jordan had met earlier in the day with the Knicks, who emphasized during a nearly three-hour presentation how they felt he could grow in their system under the guidance of Coach Derek Fisher. But the Knicks, like the Lakers, are considered a longshot for his services.

The Clippers' greatest challenger in their bid to keep Jordan is the Mavericks, who impressed Jordan on Wednesday during a pitch meeting attended by a cadre of team executives and star players Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons. The Mavericks can largely match the bigger salary the Clippers can offer Jordan because there is no state income tax in Texas.

But Dallas' starting backcourt is in flux even with the reported addition of shooting guard Wesley Matthews, leading to questions about who would get Jordan the ball and help him fulfill his desire to become a larger part of his team's offense.

The Clippers' alternatives if Jordan signs elsewhere do not appear to be enticing. The team has reached out to the representatives of Amare Stoudemire, the veteran power forward-center who would be interested in the Clippers if Jordan departed but not as a backup to Jordan and Griffin, according to one person close to Stoudemire.

Stoudemire, who turns 33 in November, would be a risky option as a starter because his playing time and production have dropped precipitously since his last All-Star season in 2010-11. He is not strong defensively and has played in an average of only 50 games over the last four seasons in the wake of a slew of injuries.

Other possibilities as Jordan replacements included unrestricted free agents Kosta Koufos and Kevin Seraphin, though they would probably have to take a pay cut to join the Clippers.

One league executive said the Clippers would be forced to "get creative" if Jordan left them because they have so little maneuverability in terms of what they can offer free agents.

The Clippers could try to fashion a sign-and-trade agreement with the team that Jordan chose, either taking players in return or generating a traded-player exception for roughly $11.5 million. The exception would allow the Clippers to later acquire a player making up to that amount without the need to send out any salaried players in return.

The team would also have about another $2 million per year to spend on a free agent if Jordan left after committing three years and $10.5 million to small forward Paul Pierce. Another possibility would be a trade involving sixth man Jamal Crawford, whose scoring prowess and bargain $5.6-million contract for next season would make him attractive despite his recently turning 35.

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Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed