The Mavericks and Jordan agreed quickly after free agency opened Sunday on a one-year contract at roughly the $24.1 million he was set to make with the Clippers next season, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because contracts can’t be signed until Friday. Jordan opted out of the final year of the deal he signed with Los Angeles when he jilted the Mavericks in 2015.
The one-year deal gives both sides flexibility beyond next season, but is a sign the Mavericks are tired of rebuilding after consecutive losing seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years. Dallas (24-58) is coming off its first 50-loss season since the last of seven in eight years in 1997-98.
If Jordan follows through on this agreement, he will leave the team that drafted him 10 years ago so he can play in his home state.
Set to turn 30 on July 21, Jordan gives the Mavericks a rebounding and shot-blocking presence they’ve mostly lacked since winning their only title in 2011. Dallas hasn’t won a playoff series since then.
The former Texas A&M standout tweeted a smiley face with a cowboy hat as news of the agreement spread on Twitter. It was a nod to the emoji-driven summertime saga that played out on social media three years ago.
After getting word that Jordan was wavering on his decision to sign with Dallas, former teammate Blake Griffin and coach Doc Rivers were part of a Clippers contingent that went to Jordan’s house in his native Houston and stayed with him until the contract was official.
Former Dallas forward Chandler Parsons was the chief recruiter of Jordan, and part of the wild emoji exchange, so of course he had to weigh in after Jordan’s latest decision.
Circumstances are much different now, with the former All-Stars who helped persuade Jordan to stay no longer around. Chris Paul engineered a trade to Houston last summer, and the Clippers shipped Griffin to Detroit in January in a sign that rebuilding years could be ahead.
The Mavericks are two years into their own reconstruction with a pair of top 10 picks. Dennis Smith Jr., taken ninth last year, has been joined by another player who will begin his NBA career as a teenager in European standout Luka Doncic.
Dallas moved up two spots in the draft last week to get the Slovenian guard, who was taken third overall by Atlanta while the Mavericks selected former Oklahoma scoring sensation Trae Young for the Hawks.
Jordan, who was second in the NBA at 15.2 rebounds per game last season, shores up an area that has long been a weakness for Dallas. Although his blocked shots dropped significantly last season, Jordan gives the Mavericks a rim presence they have coveted.
The 6-foot-11 Jordan has averaged at least 12 points each of the past three years. He has career averages of 9.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 10 seasons.
His arrival would be an odd twist for Dallas fans, who booed him steadfastly in each of his five trips to Dallas after that summertime saga. Jordan’s presence also could mean Dirk Nowitzki comes off the bench in what is expected to be his record 21st season with the same franchise.
Since the change of heart by Jordan, the most productive center for the Mavericks was their immediate replacement — Zaza Pachulia in 2015-16. Dallas hoped Nerlens Noel could become a significant piece after trading for him at the deadline in 2017. But the sixth overall pick by Philadelphia in 2013 never blossomed.
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