The Lakers’ search for a center option, working under the assumption Marc Gasol was not a viable choice, this offseason led them directly to an unexpected name at the start of free agency in DeAndre Jordan. The big man had spent many of his best years in Los Angeles sporting a Clippers uniform but had long since moved on, both from his best years and from the L.A. area.
Still, even prior to when the Nets shipped out Jordan as a cost-cutting maneuver, he was linked to the Lakers in a move that he declared was not a difficult decision to make in an interview with Spectrum Sportsnet.
“Man, this was not a very tough decision. You always want to be in a place where you’re wanted, and a place where you have a chance to compete and contend for something. That’s a team goal, and obviously I was here playing my first 10 years of professional basketball, and so that was a good experience for me, and just to be able to be back around my family and an organization that’s ready to compete for another title is exciting for me.”
While it may have been an easy decision for Jordan, it was also a fairly logical one. The least of contenders vying for Jordan’s services was likely only one in the Lakers. Jordan filled a very specific need the Lakers had in a Gasol replacement and Jordan was a bit lucky that they were still searching for a center this late in free agency.
Similarly, there likely weren't many teams offering Jordan the playing time that he will likely receive with the Lakers. Given how much he was phased out of the rotation in Brooklyn, Jordan’s stock is rather low right now. While a rebuilding team may have taken a chance on him, that likely did not appeal to Jordan.
In the end, it may have been an easy decision for Jordan, but it also may have been one of his only choices. That isn’t to say he can’t be a positive contributor with the Lakers. Back in the summer of 2019, the Lakers landed Dwight Howard, a player who also was not sought-after and had one real option in front of him. Howard turned into a valuable contributor and Jordan very much still can, too.
Being desired and wanted, as Jordan noted, also goes some way in helping motivate a player to contribute. The Lakers sought out Jordan as the solution to their roster. Given the landscape of available free agents, it was an easy decision for the Lakers. Given the teams interested in him, it was an easy decision for Jordan. Hopefully now for Lakers fans, success will easily follow for the team now moving forward.
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