Though it has looked like throughout multiple points in his career that he would be leaving the Los Angeles Clippers, center DeAndre Jordan is the last remaining member of their previous core still with the club.
Blake Griffin got traded mid-season while J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford found new homes in free agency, and of course, Chris Paul was dealt to the Houston Rockets last summer. This leaves a reportedly frustrated DeAndre Jordan, the only true star left on the roster surrounded with other rotational pieces but he will have a player option this summer. According to USAToday’s Kelly Iko, Jordan is ready to move on from LA and is pulling for a reunion with his former point guard in Houston:
The 10-year veteran, who was the subject of trade talks around last year’s deadline involving him and Clint Capela—talks which went nowhere due to Houston’s desire to keep Capela— has remained focused on the possibility of playing in Houston, two league sources told Rockets Wire. The sources requested anonymity because they are unauthorized to speak on the record about Jordan’s intentions.
According to one source, Jordan was in the ears of multiple Rockets players throughout the 2017-2018 season, expressing his longtime desire to play in his hometown.
The source also detailed the events surrounding the infamous Clippers-Rockets postgame locker room altercation earlier in January. According to the source, after the altercation, Jordan spoke to multiple Rockets players on the team bus, citing frustration with the Clippers organization and a strong desire to leave.
Though DeAndre Jordan heading to his hometown Houston Rockets appears like a fascinating idea on paper that may push them over the top, logic and financial restraints say otherwise.
Both Paul and center Clint Capela are slated to hit free agency this summer, though Capela will be restricted. Owner Tilman Fertitta has already expressed his desire to keep Capela around, a player who made great strides this past season and was one of the keys towards the Rockets’ immense success this season.
Opting to stray from a homegrown and in-house developed player like Capela for an older option such as Jordan may not be the brightest idea. Though we already know him and Chris Paul have incredible chemistry and he’d be a phenomenal rim runner with James Harden as well, it appears the Rockets are settled on their center of the future in Capela.
That being said, there is still a chance Houston doesn’t match every offer the Swiss big man gets, especially if it’s a max deal. Chris Paul will have to get paid first and foremost, then they will hope to retain Capela. Jordan won’t come without a hefty price tag either unless he’s willing to take a hometown discount on his hunt for a championship ring, making this a tricky situation for all involved.
However this plays out, the Houston Rockets are one of the marquee teams to keep an eye on this summer, as it’ll be interesting to see how they maneuver after being on the cusp of a championship berth this season.