Larceny in Lob City

Someone needs to explain to me the DeAndre Jordan eerily creepy re-signing by the Los Angeles Clippers. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching DeAndre 3000 just as much as the next guy, he’s a beast who runs the floor in one of the more exciting offenses to watch in the NBA. But the way the Clippers went after him, man, I thought that was an episode of NBC Dateline: To Catch a Predator.

Here are the facts. DeAndre Jordan is a game changer. As Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, the team he verbally betrayed, put it, he could be the Shaquille O’Neal of the new generation in the NBA.

“We see him as “Shaq-like” but never having been given the opportunity,” Cuban said on The Bob and Dan Show. “We told him if he came to the Mavs, he would be a focal point. He would grow into being a franchise player.”

There are certainly comparisons there. Jordan is big — 6 foot 11 and 250 pounds — but Shaq was bigger — 7 foot 1 and 325 pounds, allowing them to be rebounding machines and very intimidating defensive presences in the paint. They both are dunk machines and inside the paint they both are unstoppable. Jordan has led the league in field goal percentage the past three seasons in a row, Shaq did it ten times. Neither can shoot a free throw to save their lives, but DeAndre’s performance from the stripe last year made Shaq look like Larry Bird. .397? Seriously, dude?

That’s where the comparisons unfortunately end for DeAndre. You see, the big difference between Shaq and DeAndre was the championship pedigree. If I were a team that just swooped in and camped out at DeAndre Jordan‘s house — with the rumors aswirl that they took his phone and wouldn’t leave until he signed — and signed him to a $22-MILLION A YEAR DEAL, said big man better have something to show for it.

I'll make you big, Li'l Penny. SHAZAAM!
I’ll make you big, Li’l Penny. SHAZAAM!

Shaq took an Orlando Magic team with far less talent than Chris Paul and Blake Griffin around him to the championship in his SECOND season. By the time Shaq was 26 — DeAndre Jordan’s current age — he had led the league in scoring twice and was a six time All-Star. DJ? No All Star appearances and he set a career high in scoring with 11.5 points per game last year. Don’t get me started on the All NBA team accolades or All Defensive Team accolades either.

The biggest factor was that Shaq was a franchise changer. Heading into his age-27 season, Shaq had seen the NBA Finals. He would would win the NBA Championship at age 27, 28 and 29. You know who was the MVP of each of those Finals? It wasn’t DeAndre Jordan.

I don’t get the hot pursuit of Jordan, simply because it doesn’t change anything. The core of this team is essentially the same, and that core hasn’t even made it to the Western Conference Finals together yet. Is bringing in senior citizen and the overly zealous trash talker Paul Pierce going to elevate them to the next level?

The Golden State Warriors are legit. They aren’t going anywhere with a young nucleus. Those old guys in San Antonio went out and GOT BETTER. How does the NBA allow them to get LaMarcus Aldridge and David West? West is coming to the Spurs, leaving about $11-million behind to watch his playing time get reduced all for the opportunity to play in the best run system in the NBA. DeAndre Jordan just robbed a franchise that has never, and may never, see an NBA Finals. Even my New Jersey Nets (I have no affiliation with that abomination that moved to Brooklyn) had a Golden Era that they went to back-to-back NBA Finals. The Clip Show? Nada.

YOU GOT HOW MUCH?
YOU GOT HOW MUCH?

They are a fantasy dream. If you draft CP3, Howdy Doody, and DeAndre 3000 you have a solid chance of winding up in contention for your fantasy league crown. But I have three names for you that will prove that makes no difference: Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, and Amar’e Stoudemire. Those Phoenix Suns teams would score 500 points a night and made Joe Johnson the most overpaid “superstar” in the NBA until… well, DeAndre Jordan. Remember how many NBA Finals those legendary fantasy Suns’ teams won? Yea… me neither.

Look, I don’t hate DeAndre Jordan, I don’t think he doesn’t deserve to be paid nicely. I simply don’t see what he has done to merit completely flaking on Mark Cuban and then being pursued by the Clippers like Bonnie and Clyde. It’s not like Cuban is the most ethical business man, but you may have noticed he does have a bright, shiny championship ring on his finger.

Put this in perspective. Yesterday, LeBron James signed a two-year, $47-million deal. That’s $23.5-mill a year. I can name you at least 20 NBA players right now that deserve to be making a mere $1.5-million less than the greatest player of his generation and not one of them is DeAndre Jordan. As much as The Decision skewed fans and left LeBron somewhat unlikeable, that was a personal, self-marketing whirlwind (that only warranted him two NBA Championships, not three… not four…).

This was entirely different. This was a franchise that has never been to an NBA Finals. This was a franchise that won it’s first two division titles in its history just two years ago! This IS a franchise that just broke the bank on a very good player that has been a Clipper for seven years… and still hasn’t gotten them to where they need to be.

Remember, Wayniacs, if you like what you read, click that little Twitter bird under Derek Jeter’s picture. The Nation is growing, are you next?

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