BY VAROON BOSE
The NBA season officially ended with the Golden State Warriors hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy as champions of the league last month. And while games don’t start until October, most die-hard NBA fans would argue that basketball season starts in the beginning of July with free agency—especially given the flurry of big-name moves that lit up social media this year.
For those of you unfamiliar with the NBA’s free agency process, general managers and owners are allowed to contact free agents on July 1 and contracts can’t be officially signed until 12:01am ET on July 9. More often than not, a verbal agreement between a player and a team is more concrete than the streets you drive on. And once this agreement is in place, it’s an unofficial rule that all other owners should back off.
Enter DeAndre Jordan.
The league’s rebounding leader for the past two seasons reportedly committed to a four-year, $84-million dollar contract with the Dallas Mavericks on July 3, and he appeared set to return to his home state of Texas after seven years with the Los Angeles Clippers. Yet L.A. coach and general manager Doc Rivers, in a last-ditch effort to convince Jordan to return to California, set up a final meeting with Jordan in his home city of Houston and brought in the cavalry of All-Star Blake Griffin, newly signed legend Paul Pierce, and eccentric billionaire owner Steve Ballmer. After several hours filled with NBA Twitter emoji battles, a campout at Jordan’s house, and a lifetime’s worth of basketball memes, Jordan finally spurned owner Mark Cuban and the Mavericks and signed a four-year deal with the Clippers. A taste of the emoji madness, each indicating the method of travel used to swoop in after Jordan:
— Chandler Parsons (@ChandlerParsons) July 8, 2015
That's why they brought me here lol pic.twitter.com/Z64Tkiyp01
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 9, 2015
Just after signing his contract, the Daily Dot sat down with Jordan for an exclusive interview and chatted about the free agency process, what made him change his mind, and what exactly happened this week. (Just kidding, this is all fake.)
Thanks for sitting down with us DeAndre. I know it’s been an extremely tiring day.
Oh hey, Mark Cuban. Who let you in?
What?! Where is he?! Someone hide me.
DeAndre, I’m joking. I just figured that would wake you up.
Damn man, that wasn’t funny.
I’m sorry, and I know it’s been a long day, but can we try to get this interview done?
Sure man. I’m sorry, when I heard you say his name, I fully expected him to walk through the door Liam Neeson-style.
So, I take it the reports are true: That you never even gave Cuban and the Mavericks a meeting, let alone a phone call, after your verbal commitment on July 3. What initially attracted you to the Dallas organization?
A couple of things. Obviously I’m from Texas, and it’d be nice to eat real barbeque instead of having to hit up juice bars all over downtown Los Angeles. But Cuban was actually a really cool dude. As part of my deal, he gave me 15 percent equity in Avión.
Wait, you mean the tequila company he bought in Entourage?
Yeah. Turtle wanted to only give me 10 percent, but I squeezed an extra 5 percent out of him after I threatened to Brandon Knight him and put it on Instagram.
You realize that Cuban doesn’t actually own Avión. It was just part of a television show.
Excuse me? Are you doubting me? Do I have to Brandon Knight you too?
No, that’s OK. I’ve seen reports that Chandler Parsons was part of the recruiting process also and that you had five straight dinners together. Is that true?
Chandler was cool, and yeah, we had several dinners together. We talked a bit about basketball, but mostly about life, the organization, etc. Although there was something peculiar. No matter where we went he always ordered the same thing: deviled eggs with peanut butter, topped with medium Pace salsa. Like legit, even when we went to sushi, someone had that ready for him wrapped in rice and sushi within 15 minutes of us ordering.
Jesus that sounds disgusting.
It is, but he says he eats five of them before his Buffalo Jeans modeling shoots, and the ladies love him. So who am I to judge?
So when exactly did it all fall apart? Was there something particular that instigated this return to the Clippers.
Well on the night of July 3, Chandler and I went out to one of the local bars, and while he was in the bathroom, he left his phone on our table. I saw he got a text message. It was so weird I ended up screenshotting it and sending it to my phone. Here, take a look:
Wait, is this who I think it is?
I thought Kendall was the Jenner he dated?
Nope. It was just a way to get to Kylie. And her pet name for him is an ornate light fixture. I can’t roll with that.
Yeah, so you can imagine how caught off guard I was by that. Look, I can appreciate how much the ladies love Chandler, especially when I’m out with him. But dude, she’s 17. Do I look like Dwight Howard?
You do play the same position.
She was born in the same year as Chloe Grace Moretz, Cody Simpson, Rebecca Black…
Wait, how do you know…?
She’s the same age as the Austin Powers franchise.
Yikes. OK. When did you first seriously consider flipping your decision?
It sort of started when I saw my teammates tweet out all those emojis saying they were returning. But it got serious when Paul Pierce tweeted his emoji as a JPEG. That was some grandpa-level shit.
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 8, 2015
I also knew shit was serious when Chris [Paul] left that banana boat off the coast of the Bahamas to meet me. It was so touching. To leave a banana boat with LeBron, D-Wade, and [points to the sky] Gabrielle Union.
So you’re at the meeting with all these guys. Was there something key someone said to you? Perhaps some beef that was cleared up?
Look, I know what you’re getting at, so let me clear it up once and for all. Chris Paul and I have had beef, yes. But it was all over unpaid debt over a high-stakes game of Go Fish.
Yes, Chris doesn’t know the difference between any of the suits in a pack of cards, so it’s literally the only game we can play with him. He won over $30,000 in one game at the beginning of the season, but only because he thought jacks and kings were the same thing. Nobody has ever called him out on this, not even his mother when he was a child. I finally did, and he flipped.
Yup. So those reports of us playing cards during our meeting are all true. We decided to play it out with “new rules.” He still ended up winning $5,000, so it’s all love.
So is this beef the reason why he wouldn’t high-five you in the huddles last season?
No. He didn’t high-five me because he physically can’t.
Yup, he’s literally not tall enough to high-five me.
You can’t be serious.
Dead serious. Why do you think Blake brought that chair to my house?
Don't agree with the furniture layout but I'm not an interior designer. pic.twitter.com/23PNgQB88z
— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin23) July 9, 2015
That wasn’t a joke about them barricading you in the house?
Well they definitely did that. But they used Big Baby [Glen Davis]. They told him there was a pizza delivery guy on the way, and that if he heard any knocks on the door, he should answer it. They texted the same thing to the entire Mavericks organization. I’m a prized asset, but nobody wants to be cornered between Baby and his pizza.
So how did you make your final decision?
Honestly, I was pretty torn even after all the meetings with Doc and the team. I asked them to give me a few minutes outside in my backyard. And then… I just shot a free throw.
Wait. You decided this life-altering decision on a free throw?
I was seriously torn. It was a more surefire 50-50 outcome than flipping a coin.
Which team was make and which team was miss?
Let’s just say it didn’t go in the hoop.
Jesus. So did you ever try to reach out to Cuban?
That’s where the reports got it wrong. I tried calling, texting, but he only communicates to people on that shitty Cyber Dust thing. I couldn’t even figure out how to download it. I doubt it’s available in the App store. Hell, I even Snapchatted the man.
Do you have anything you want to say to the Clippers fans?
I’m just blessed to be back. I’m sorry I put them through this and I’m looking forward to the next few years.
And for Mavericks fans?
Shhhhh. Just close your eyes. It will all be over soon.
Photo via Bleacher Report/Twitter