The Dallas Mavericks are set to sign DeAndre Jordan to a one-year deal – here’s why that’s not just good, but possibly genius
It’s hard to call any relationship with DeAndre Jordan “good” let alone “genius”, but that may prove to be the case when all is said and done. Initially, it seemed bizarre the Dallas Mavericks signed Jordan to a measly one-year deal.
For a team that’s rebuilding and looking towards building for the future, a one-year deal didn’t make much sense. No one expects the Mavs to compete for a title this season, so any one-year deal was absolutely pointless, right?
Not so fast.
Meet the Win-Now Dallas Mavericks
Believe it or not, the Dallas Mavericks are a win-now team. The polar change in philosophy happened the moment the Mavs sent their 2019 1st rounder to Atlanta for Luka Doncic. The pick only has top-5 protection so unless the Mavs finish as poorly (or worse) as they did last season, that pick is going to the Hawks.
With the addition of Doncic and the progression of Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr, a bottom-5 finish is pretty unlikely. So without any incentive to lose, the Mavs are undeniably in it to win it this coming season.
Clearly, signing a young superstar to build around would be the ideal scenario, but without a realistic option in sight, the Mavericks turned to the best possible 30-year-old that would have them, DeAndre Jordan.
For the sake of argument, let’s look past the situation that happened in the summer of 2015. I’m not over it and I imagine many MFFL aren’t either. It’s just not nessasrilly pertinent to this conversation. Besides, I made my thoughts clear on the whole thing:
Instead, let’s look at the dollars and sense…
Dollars and Sense
By signing their new All-Star center to a one-year deal the Dallas Mavericks kill three birds with one stone:
1. Get back to winning – the problem with losing is it becomes a tough habit to break. Tank for too long and all you have is a bunch of talented guys who don’t know how to win. Without their first round pick, the Mavs can try their hardest to win without feeling like they’re shooting themselves in the foot.
2. Try-out – the NBA has been trending away from traditional position players, preferring instead for five interchangeable jacks-of-all trade. Can a big man like DeAndre win in today’s NBA? How will DSJ and Luka play with a him?
On a one-year rental, the Dallas Mavericks will get to answer those questions without committing long-term. If it doesn’t work out, the Mavs will probably turn their backs on traditional center prospects going forward. If it does workout they would keep it open as an option – either try to re-sign Jordan or target someone of similar ability (maybe younger and developmental).
3. Big Splash in 2019 – The top two things made this signing a wise move but this third one has the potential to make it genius. According to Mike Fisher, the Dallas Mavericks will have roughly $87 million in spending cash next summer.
They would have the funds to go after TWO max players with that kinda coin. And with young budding stars Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr., and Luka Doncic on staff, the Mavs will look far more attractive to free agents than they have in a while.
Think about it: the one thing that has kept the Mavs from luring talent in free agency has been the supporting cast. When the Mavs had attractive players, they didn’t have money for free agents. When they had money, they didn’t have attractive players. 2019 will be the first time in years the Mavericks have both money and an attractive roster to lure free agents.
What if the Mavs don’t get a big fish in 2019? They can go into tank mode again if they need to. The main take-away is losing does exactly zero good for the Mavs this season. They’re losing their pick so they might as well win.
Signing DeAndre Jordan helps them win, and it keeps their options wide open for next summer. If Dallas can sneak into the playoffs (or be entertainingly close) and highlight their fun young weapons (Luka, DSJ, and Barnes) they could look pretty attractive to those 2019 free agents looking for new homes.