NBA Betting Fans Need To Know: Did DeAndre Jordan Cross the Line?

Posted by Alex Murphy on July 15, 2015 in

Admittedly, it was odd for DeAndre Jordan to make a verbal commitment to the Dallas Mavericks for the 2015-2016 season, wait five days and then go back to the Los Angeles Clippers at the last minute. But was it unethical?

Most NBA betting fans probably know the broad strokes of the events by now. Jordan agreed to join the Mavericks, and the Mavericks started celebrating on social media. Mark Cuban even incurred a $25,000 fine from the NBA for talking about a free-agent signing as a done deal during the “moratorium,” when teams and players can discuss terms but no one can reach a binding agreement. (And no, there’s no word that the NBA has rescinded the fine in the aftermath of Jordan’s decision to stay on the West Coast).

NBA Betting Fans Need To Know: Did DeAndre Jordan Cross the Line?



DeAndre Jordan had reached out to teammate Blake Griffin and then to coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers to talk about his second thoughts, and the organization headed en masse to Houston. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin cut their vacations short, and the team basically held Jordan captive in his Houston home until midnight passed on July 1 and he could sign his contract, making him officially a Clipper.

Griffin tweeted an awkward picture out that appeared to show some furniture against the door – testament to the very real fear that Jordan would go with the advice from the last person to talk to him before the free-agent deadline. That’s why Jordan wouldn’t answer calls or texts from Mark Cuban, who drove to Jordan’s home and sat outside, only to hear from Jordan that he was “on a date” – but really had Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers’ entourage inside the house, playing cards and video games with him but really unwilling to let him talk to anyone else.

Even more interestingly, Jordan wouldn’t even take calls from his own agent, Dan Fegan, but his blackout of Cuban had extended for two days.

So what are the ethics involved? NBA policy forbids the formation of any legally binding agreements during this time period of discussion. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich famously said that if he had to wait until midnight to get a player to sign with San Antonio, he didn’t want that player in his lineup, because Pop only had one place to be at that time of night – in bed. Rivers, apparently, didn’t have similar scruples and sat with Jordan until the contract was signed. So from a legal point of view, no one did anything wrong.

There is, of course, the idea that Jordan made an agreement with a team. Of course, he did have the right to change his mind – but by waiting for five days, or until the very last moment, to reveal his decision, he really did the Mavericks a disservice. The center they had on their roster, Tyson Chandler, is now gone, having signed a free agent deal in Phoenix. They did trade for a serviceable center from the Bucks, but they have been left plucking such pickings off the free agent pile as a burned-out Deron Williams (who could very well find a renaissance in Dallas, but we’ll see).

Here’s the bottom line. If Jordan had told Cuban he was having second thoughts at the same time he told Griffin, then the Mavericks would have had other options to pursue. They could have re-signed Chandler and had a decent presence guarding the rim. Now, though, the situation is much grimmer than it had to be. The bottom line is that while his decision was not unethical, the NBA will likely be looking at ways to keep things like this from happening again.

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