DeAndre Jordan is in a ridiculously weird spot.
When he first signed his current contract, no one thought he’d opt into the final year, next season, worth $24.1 million. But then the NBA’s free-agency market this past season cratered. And then the market for bigs who don’t shoot tanked even harder than that. And now Jordan, like so many other bigs, has a tough decision to make.
Signing an extension with the Los Angeles Clippers would remedy a lot of that, and according to ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe, both parties have explored such a scenario:
Jordan may want something closer to his maximum salary of $35 million. He has discussed an extension, but he would earn less going that route; talks have stalled. “If they want me, yeah, I’d love to be here,” Jordan says. “But I don’t have an extension, do I? So we’ll see.” (Jordan is also negotiating without an agent. He parted ways with Dan Fegan, his old agent, after the Dallas hostage situation. “I haven’t had the best experiences with agents,” Jordan says.)
Most still expect Jordan to opt out. Even if he doesn’t match next season’s salary, he should make substantially more over the longer haul, on a three- or four-year deal. He has the Rudy Gobert-esque clout—that supreme rim protector and rim-runner who cannot shoot threes or put the ball on the floor, but who’s switchier in space than most other towers.
But, again, the free-agent market for bigs is unpredictable right now. Jordan has to decide whether he’ll be more Gobert or more Nerlens Noel in July. And if he even has the slightest inkling he could suffer the market dip the former did this past July, he might be better off opting in and re-exploring the free-agency waters in 2019.