(Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
It might not appear like it from the outside but it is full on DEFCON 5 (actually DEFCON 1 since that is the most severe but when in Rome) at the Clippers headquarters as they try to throw everything conceivable at DeAndre Jordan in hopes he’ll re-sign and not leave them with a massive void in the middle with no ability to replace him with anything more than a marginal NBA player.
The Clippers are in such a state of desperation that they even commissioned the services of academy award winning actor Jamie Foxx as part of their pitch to DJ.
Despite the Hollywood themed full court press by the Clippers no deal was agreed to and DJ will continue with his plans on being wined and dined by a litany of teams interested in bringing his talents to their city.
For the next 9 days the Clippers franchise and their prospects for success in the immediate future will hang in the balance as they sit and wait for DJ’s decision. If the worst case scenario becomes a reality, which is DJ leaving to sign outright with a team, the Clippers will be devastated and plummet down the NBA power rankings.
Since the Clippers traded Spencer Hawes to Charlotte as part of the Lance Stevenson trade that leaves Glen “Big Baby” Davis as their only center on the roster which should be a horrifying thought for anybody that cares about Clippers basketball.
While DJ is coming off making 11.4 million and eligible to make a starting salary of around 19 million, if he decides to leave the Clippers they do not get to then spend that same money on another free agent as they will still be near or over the salary cap. The Clippers will still have use of a mid-level exception but that won’t get anywhere near equal talent as what they would lose in DJ.
The only hope of salvaging the situation for the Clippers is if DJ decides to leave is hope that he chooses to go to Dallas and they along with Tyson Chandler agree to complete a sign-and-trade deal. A sign-and-trade deal would only benefit the Clippers and Chandler but not the Mavs as they can sign DJ outright; therefore, the Clippers will have to make the deal enticing for the Mavs which will likely include handing over draft picks and/or take back bad contracts from the Mavs.
The Clippers have come so far from their days as the laughing stock of the NBA by way of accumulating superior talent, a superior coach and ridding itself of the embarrassment that was the Sterling ownership group, but even with their great climb from the bottom, they still find themselves as a team that can’t get out of the 2nd round. If the Clippers lose DJ for nothing comparable in return the gains they made to get where they are now will be devastating and possibly irreparable.