July 8, 2015: The EPIC DeAndre Jordan Debacle
Less than a week ago the Mavericks were on top of the world. A verbal commitment from one of the league’s best centers and the perfect compliment to the 37-year-old Dirk Nowitzki gave the Mavs loyal some hope. The starting five was coming together with the apparent additions of DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews and it looked like the Mavericks were going to be in the playoff conversation in the STACKED Western conference.
Vivacious owner Mark Cuban breathed a sigh of relief when he found out DeAndre would be heading to Dallas and even mentioned what would have happened had the Mavs missed out:
“We wanted to get Wes, he was a target for us all summer, and obviously DeAndre as well. But if we got shut out, we weren’t going to just try to fill the roster,” Cuban said during a recent radio interview with KTCK-AM 1310 in Dallas. “We had the discussion that if we couldn’t get a serious free agent, whether it was one of the guys still out there or some of the guys who already went, then it was time to take a step back.”
Truly shocking words from one of the most aggressive owners and businessmen within the NBA. Luckily for Cuban, DeAndre felt like 4 years and $80 million was enough to get him back to his home state of Texas. Right? Right?!
This is where the narrative gets fun. July 8th, 2015 will be remembered as one of the most entertaining, insane, “WTF is going on?” days in NBA history. It is likely that there have been some crazy free agency stories in the past, however, NBA players and fans around the world were able to follow the story in real time, all thanks to a thing called Twitter.
Lets take a closer look at what exactly happened and how Twitter kept us all on the edge of our seats. July 9th at 12:01 AM is when NBA players can officially sign their contracts with their new (or old) franchises. That said, our story starts twelve hours prior when DeAndre reached out to the Clippers with second thoughts about leaving the team for Dallas.
ACT 1: The Emoji Battle Begins
As soon as DeAndre voiced his second thoughts, all hell broke loose. The Twitter world was set on fire with an ensuing emoji race to persuade DeAndre.
Chandler Parsons led off, boarding his jet to Houston to remind DJ of his prior commitment.
Then came JJ Redick, who lives in Texas and was just a short drive away.
At this point, the emoji race was on and the following is probably my personal favorite tweet of the day.
These exclusively emoji tweets seem pretty average and insignificant, but lets take a look at how Twitter responded (Spoiler Alert: it exploded).
Apparently Blake was a little further away but don’t worry, the chopper works just fine.
Chris Paul’s banana boat will get him to DJ, apparently. I wonder if he’s bringing D-Wade and LeBron…(wouldn’t be the most surprising part of the day)
Old man PP is still trying to figure out how to use these emojis all the cool kids are talkin’ about.
Mo Speights reminding everyone who the champs are.
Mamba chimed in.
And finally, MJ reminds everyone who’s boss.
And with that, Act 1 of the DeAndre Jordan drama ends, the curtain fell and act 2 began after a brief intermission.
ACT 2: The Clippers seize DeAndre’s Home
The second act begins with what seems like a hostage situation. Twitter reports claimed that the Clippers were meeting with DeAndre inside of his Houston home. Once the meeting concluded, the Clips recruitment team (made up of owner Steve Ballmer, head coach/GM Doc Rivers, and players JJ Redick, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and the newest Clipper/emoji user, Paul Pierce) would not leave his home until he put pen to paper.
Picture this, six grown men, all worth millions and millions of dollars, refusing to leave a seventh grown man’s home until he signs his contract and leaves Mark Cuban, the Mavs, and the entire city of Dallas wondering what the hell just happened.
Now imagine billionaire Mark Cuban banging on the door and windows begging for someone, anyone to let him in so he can state his case. Multiple reports claimed that DeAndre was ignoring Cuban’s calls and messages and after the whole fiasco Cuban publicly said that he hadn’t heard from DJ since Tuesday night. Eventually Cuban threw in the towel and moved on, allowing the seven foot center to return to L.A. for four years and $88 million.
Once the dust settled and the Twitter buzz slowed, Blake Griffin decided to have a little fun with everybody.
Not only did the Mavs lose out on DeAndre; they also lost out on the opportunity to sign a different big man that they would have undoubtedly been pursuing had they known DeAndre wouldn’t be a Mav.
Act 3 has yet to be written but it will likely feature an angry Mark Cuban and a defensive Chris Broussard going head-to-head in a Twitter grudge match!
In the end, DeAndre is still a Clipper, the Mavs have some work to do, and the NBA is sitting back, relaxing, and thanking Twitter and all of social media for making the NBA more relevant on July 8th than EVER before. Since July 1st, DeAndre Jordan has gained over 28,000 Twitter followers, but that came at a cost: many lost trust in DJ, and the value of his word has dwindled down to next to nothing. So what’s your take? Are you #TeamCuban or #TeamDJ?