DeAndre Jordan joins Mavs, treats touchy history with humour
DeAndre Jordan took off his warm-up jacket, tossed it aside, and declared that his decision to join the Dallas Mavericks didn't mean he also would be playing for his favourite NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Humour was the centre's way of easing into all the questions about his infamous jilting of the Mavericks in free agency three years ago, when he agreed to play for Dallas and changed his mind before contracts could be signed.
When it was pointed out to him that folks in Dallas hadn't seen the fun-loving side of the native Texan before Mavericks media day on Friday, Jordan did what he had done for most of his 15 minutes with reporters. He smiled.
"You haven't seen this side?" Jordan asked, repeating the observation. "You guys hated me the past three years, so I probably wasn't very open in interviews. You know what I mean? I'm excited to get to know all of you guys."
Jordan wanted to get one thing straight before agreeing again to sign with the Mavericks, this time after opting out of the final year of that four-year contract he signed with the Los Angeles Clippers in the summer of 2015. He wanted to make sure that coach Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki, among others, didn't have any hard feelings.
Well, Jordan was pretty sure he was cool with the 40-year-old German superstar who is about to set an NBA record by spending all 21 of his seasons with the same franchise.
"Dirk is an old man so he forgets a lot of stuff," Jordan said, sending a wave of laughter through the interview room. "Like I said at the beginning, before I committed again I just wanted to make sure that we were OK and everything was positive. They said they forgot about all that and they were looking forward to the future."
It wasn't necessarily forget for Nowitzki, who started at centre the past couple of years and likely won't have a regular spot in the starting line-up for the first time since his rookie season of 1998-99. But it was definitely forgive long before Jordan actually followed follow through on his plan to be Nowitzki's teammate.
"We've been over that a long, long time ago," Nowitzki said. "It wasn't only about basketball. He made some other decisions about what was best for him. We're in no position to judge anybody."
Jordan is one of the NBA's best rebounders, finishing in the top three each of the past five seasons. Although his shot-blocking numbers have dropped off the past two seasons, the 30-year-old is still considered one of the best rim protectors.