It’s been exactly two weeks since the Los Angeles Lakers opened up a spot on their roster, and they still haven’t signed anyone.
The Lakers reportedly expressed interest in all of the high-profile names on the buyout market like Wayne Ellington, Markieff Morris and Enes Kanter, but all of them opted to sign with different teams. Despite this, Los Angeles is hopeful they can still snag a big name free agent before the playoff-eligibility waiver deadline on March 1.
One name they’re keeping an eye on? DeAndre Jordan, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
A better fit would be New York Knicks center DeAndre Jordan, who the Lakers are eyeing before the March 1 playoff-eligibility waiver deadline.
However, as Pincus notes, there’s reason to be skeptical that the Knicks would agree to a buyout with Jordan:
The Dallas Mavericks sent Jordan to New York in the Kristaps Porzingis trade. With the 11-47 Knicks focused on (or tanking for) the draft lottery, why wouldn’t they let him out of his contract to join a contender?
The Knicks recently bought out guard Wesley Matthews, who then signed with the Indiana Pacers, but Jordan remains in New York.
ESPN.com’s Tim Bontemps tweeted one theory on why the Knicks may hold on to Jordan: “He’s also good friends with Kevin Durant—whom the Knicks are hoping to land as a free agent this summer.”
But while Jordan might be in New York’s plans, he reportedly has his eyes set on a return to Los Angeles this summer. According to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, Jordan is interested in coming to back to the west coast, either with the Clippers or Lakers.
Obviously he might reconsider his stance if Durant commits to signing with the Knicks this summer, but at that point, New York might shift their attention to bigger fish to pair with Durant, like Kyrie Irving. The Lakers, on the other hand, will have the cap space to offer Jordan a sizable one-year contract, depending on how their own free agency plans pan out. Jordan currently makes $22.8 million annually.
If Jordan is really dead set on moving back to sunny Southern California sooner rather than later, the Lakers could use his services for their late-season playoff push.
In adding Jordan, the Lakers would get a tenacious rebounder unlike anyone on their roster. Jordan is ranked third in the league in rebounds per game with 13.4. Only Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond are grabbing more this season. James leads the Lakers in rebounds per game with 8.6.
Defensively, Jordan might not be the stalwart he used to be, but he’s still an upgrade over JaVale McGee. According to ESPN, Jordan is ranked sixth among centers in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. McGee is ranked 44th.
Offensively, Jordan has the potential to feast alongside LeBron James the same way McGee did earlier this season, but at an even more efficient rate. Jordan is ranked second among players that have appeared in more than 50 games this season in field goal percentage (64.9 percent), only trailing Rudy Gobert (65.4 percent).
Jordan is also the all-time leader in field goal percentage, ahead of current Laker Tyson Chandler and former Lakers Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal.
Again, Jordan isn’t perfect, but he’s still extremely valuable.
Let’s hope that the Knicks go into full-on tank mode before March 1 and set Jordan free. Having Jordan in Madison Square Garden is cool, but you know what would be even cooler? Zion Williamson.
Don’t overthink this, Knicks. #FreeDJ.