In what is expected to be the second-most exciting trade of the season, the Dallas Mavericks sent Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two future first-round picks to the New York Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke.
Shortly after the trade, there were rumors that Matthews and Jordan could be potential buyout candidates, but everything that has come out the Knicks’ locker room so far suggests they’ll be with the team for the rest of the season. After that, both Matthew and Jordan will hit unrestricted free agency.
Jordan will be one the bigger names in free agent center pool this summer along with DeMarcus Cousins, Al Horford (player option), Marc Gasol (player option) and Nikola Vucevic. In the likely event that he doesn’t re-sign with the Knicks, Jordan is considering a return to Los Angeles, either with the Los Angeles Clippers or the Lakers, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times:
Jordan would like to return to Los Angeles, and he’s still close with coach Doc Rivers. Some NBA scouts believe a pairing with the Lakers, perhaps next summer, makes sense for Jordan, too.
Upon arrival, Jordan would be the best center the Lakers have had since Andrew Bynum in 2012.
He doesn’t fit the bill of the “modern,” floor-spacing bigs so many teams covet, but he makes up for it by being a force defensively. Despite averaging just 1.1 blocks per game this season, Jordan is among the league leaders in Defensive Box Plus-Minus (+3.6) and Defensive Win Shares (2.7), per basketball-reference. He also leads the league in total defensive rebounds (536).
Offensively, he leaves a lot to be desired, but he’s aware of his limitations on that end and chooses his shots — or should I say dunks — wisely. It’s for that reason he’s the all-time leader in field goal percentage, ahead of Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal.
However, while Jordan and his defensive toughness would be a welcome addition to the Lakers, he should only be considered as one-year rental if they strike out on landing a bigger name in free agency.
Jordan is good, but signing him to a long-term, big money deal wouldn’t make much sense for the Lakers, especially considering he’ll turn 31 years old in July. It would make even less sense if Anthony Davis is traded to another team and the Lakers are forced to wait until 2020, when he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.
We’ll see how the next few months play out, but as it stands, Jordan should be near the bottom of the Lakers’ wishlist this summer.
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