“Torn” DeAndre Jordan Highlights Foolish NBA Protocol


DeAndre Jordan is rumored to be now “torn” on his commitment to join the Mavs. This potential flip-flop just highlights the NBA’s ridiculous free agency process.

Panic is striking Mavs Nation today as word leaks that All-Star center, DeAndre Jordan, may be second-guessing his commitment to join the Dallas Mavericks (according to DMN). A change of heart for a player like DeAndre would be disastorous to the Dallas Mavericks, so we must ask – “How does even this happen?”

When free agency opened last week, the Mavs were the first to meet with the former Clipper. After doing his due diligence and weighing his options, DeAndre came to an agreement with Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, committing to join the team on a 4 year/$80M deal. Done deal right? Not so fast.

The NBA abides by a ridiculous protocol of allowing courtship and commitments July 1st, but not allowing the paperwork to be signed until July 9th.

As everyone knows, the signatures and paperwork are what makes it all official. And while verbal contracts can be legally binding in some instances, it won’t hold up in NBA free agency.

To go back on a verbal commitment is quite rare in the NBA. Despite a process ripe for controversy and flip-flopping, it rarely happens. But the rarity notwithstanding, it’s a jacked up process that invites disaster. A disaster like this, that could cripple the Mavericks franchise.

By forcing this “cooling off period”, it allows the inevitable flooding of cognitive dissonance to take control

You see, the Mavs stayed good on their deal. When DeAndre Jordan committed, the Mavs stopped shopping. If he goes back on his word, the Mavs will be up a creek – so to speak. If DeAndre would have just said “no”, the Mavs could have focused attention elsewhere. But he committed.

By him committing and potentially de-committing – the Mavs don’t have any time, or any options left on the table. All other options are committed. There is no backup plan. There is nothing.

The problem is really the process. Anyone who has ever worked in a sales job knows how difficult it can be to sell without the ability to immediately close the deal. By forcing this “cooling off period”, it allows the inevitable flooding of cognitive dissonance to take control.

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Can you imagine what would happen if car salesmen needed to wait 9 days to close deals? There would probably be a lot more old cars on the street, that’s for sure.

Regret and self-doubt are natural feelings that come in after making large life-changing decisions. That doesn’t necessarily make it a bad thing or a good thing. It’s just a natural thing. But for some reason the NBA takes advantage of this natural doubt, and the has a structure in place to foster flip-flopping. The escape hatch allows, and almost encourages, such behavior.

Regardless of how this all works out, the NBA and NBA Players Association need to get together to correct this process. Money and salary cap accounting factor into the “Cooling off period” as well, but everything is fixable, and this needs to be fixed.

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