When the Nets signed DeAndre Jordan to a 4-year, $40 million deal in the 2019 offseason, a lot of people were surprised. They already had a budding star in Jarrett Allen to play center, but here they gave a four-year deal to a guy that was primarily a rebounder and dunker.
A four-year deal isn’t just given to a guy expected to come off the bench.
Having played for the Knicks in the months leading up to free agency, Jordan was familiar with New York. He was clearly signed for only one reason, and it’s not the talent he possesses on the court.
He has a longstanding friendship with Kevin Durant, and it was a move meant to appease him and pair the friends together on the floor.
And over the past two years, Jordan has gone in and out of the starting lineup, playing 10 minutes some nights, and 40 on others. But now, he finds himself totally out of the rotation as Brooklyn has made some moves at the center spot. He’s still owed $19 million over the next two years.
Jordan’s Production in Brooklyn
During his first year with the Nets, Jordan did a nice job of staying healthy. He appeared in 56 games prior to the league shutdown, averaging 22 minutes per contest. He started the final six games before play stopped, and in all, posted eight points, 10 rebounds and a block per contest.
Jordan did not sign up to play in the bubble, and so the starting job went back to Jarrett Allen without much of a debate. It was optional, and so he opted not to go back as he dealt with having tested positive for COVID-19 at the time.
And this year, Jordan’s minutes have fluctuated quite a bit. He opened the year as a starter, with Jarrett Allen coming off the bench. There were a lot of moving parts with KD finally joining them on the court, and the free-agent additions coming in to get some burn.
In all, Jordan has averaged eight points, seven rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Like last season, he’s averaging 22 minutes per game.
But some nights, DeAndre only got 5-12 minutes. Others, he played north of 35. With the additions of Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge though, he’s become expendable.
He probably will not be traded, but he won’t be getting many more minutes. Kind of like Tyson Chandler in Houston last year. Chandler logged just 0:02 of action for the Rockets after January 18 as the team went small.
Accommodating Kevin Durant?
It’s no secret that Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan good friends. The two of them got tattoos together in Las Vegas at Team USA training camp in 2016.
They hung out in Rio, and even went on a vacation together in Greece. And so, knowing that Jordan was a free agent and Durant was close with him, why not just bring him in?
Jordan had been productive for the Knicks after being sent there in the massive Kristaps Porzingis trade. A guy that could still put up a double-double almost nightly and throw down monster dunks around the r seemed like he might fit.
But, the Nets already had Jarrett Allen. The fact is likely that Jordan was only added because of his closeness to Durant. Perhaps, the Nets mentioned in their pitch for KD, that DeAndre could come along. Regardless, if Durant was not a Net, Jordan probably would not be either.
A Four-Year Deal?
Jordan can still be a productive player in the NBA. But, why the heck would Brooklyn sign him for four years? He was 31 at the time he signed the deal, and was coming off a solid year. But when you already had Jarrett Allen, why would you provide a guaranteed four-year contract?
Very rarely does a player with a long-term contract with a new team to be a bench player. While Jordan did start 36 of 46 games this season that he played in, Sean Marks goofed here. In an era of small ball, you are trying to have two big men for the long haul, neither of whom should be benched?
Marks may have well have been a prisoner of circumstance and forced to make this move. But the fact that there were no team or player options included for a potential opt-out, is not a good thing. It comes off as bone-headed.
There won’t be many more days of DeAndre Jordan getting minutes in 2021 if any. With Aldridge, Griffin, and Nicolas Claxton in the fold, he’ll be reduced to a mentoring role.
Jordan provides a lot of energy when he’s cheering from the bench. When his teammates throw down big dunks, it’s as if he himself had put the ball in the hoop, and it’s contagious.
Here’s the thing though. Jordan turns 33 in July. He’s owed $19 million over the next two years. Is he going to ride the bench for three years because he’s Kevin Durant’s friend?
Or is a team going to try and acquire him? He won’t be of much value until his contract is expiring, leaving things a little murky going into the summer.
But, like Harry Houdini, Jordan is doing a disappearing act. Not of his own accord, though. DeAndre will not be on the court playing meaningful minutes if injuries aren’t relevant.
And again, even with Jarrett Allen in Cleveland, it makes you wonder. WHY DID THE NETS SIGN DEANDRE JORDAN TO A FULL FOUR-YEAR DEAL?
To appease KD, you could have given him a one or two-year deal. Oops.