So as it turns out, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban isn’t over this whole “Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers stole DeAndre Jordan back from us” thing.
And, really, who could blame him? I mean, to put it simply, the Mavericks had Jordan, one of the top free agents available, and then, quite suddenly, they didn’t. They planned their entire offseason, their entire future around Jordan. The time and verbal commitment they wasted on him could have been spent on any number of other free agents who landed elsewhere in between Jordan’s decision to sign with Dallas and return to Los Angeles.
Cuban has a right to be pissed. And though he’s often played the part of a resilient solider during interviews since, he unloaded on Rivers, the Clippers’ coach and president, while speaking with Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd.
Here’s what Cuban had to say, courtesy of The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre:
The ugly Mark Cuban – Doc Rivers feud from July over DeAndre Jordan is two months old, but clearly, it’s not forgotten. Last week, Doc Rivers went on Colin Cowherd’s radio show and made it sound like he didn’t have anything to say to Cuban because the Mavericks owner “acted very silly.”
Today, Cuban was talking with Cowherd and responded. Harshly:
“It shows you what someone will do when their entire future is vanishing in front of them … his professional life was over … if he didn’t get DJ … he did what he needed to do.”
To some extent, Cuban has a point. Rivers hasn’t received glowing reviews as an executive since joining Clippers. He didn’t get enough for Eric Bledsoe, he offered an unwarranted contract to Spencer Hawes, and it actually cost the Clippers a first-rounder to get rid of Jared Dudley, a serviceable spot-up shooter who can sometimes lock it down defensively.
All hell would have broken lose if Jordan ended up in Dallas. It wouldn’t have mattered that Rivers brought in Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith, despite the fact that he entered this summer with absolutely no cap flexibility. Rivers would have squandered one-third of his Big Three, all because, according to various reports at the time, he and the rest of the Clippers couldn’t make Jordan feel wanted enough.
But let’s make one thing clear: Rivers and the Clippers didn’t kidnap Jordan. That whole Twitter frenzy was vastly overblown, albeit highly entertaining, and it’s been reported over and over and over that Jordan was the one who reached out first.
Could the Clippers have ignored his 11th hour overtures? Hell freaking yes. There’s an unwritten rule in the NBA that, even though nothing is official during the moratorium period, you don’t mess with free agents who are spoken for. And that puts the Clippers’ post-decision dealings with Jordan in a gray area.
At the same time, this is all on Jordan more than anyone else. It wasn’t Rivers who was dodging Cuban’s phone calls. It wasn’t him who wasted the Mavericks’ time and ability to recruit other free agents.
In the end, it wasn’t Rivers who, though desperate and wholly screwed at the time, went back on his word and ruined Dallas’ off-season.