The Dallas Mavericks and DeAndre Jordan have agreed to a four-year max contract worth in excess of $80 million, which will bring the 26-year-old native Texan back to his home state.
That’s good news for the Mavs. Why? Because Mark Cuban told Dallas-area radio host Bob Sturm that if the Mavericks didn’t make a big splash in free agency, then they would potentially tank the 2015-16 NBA season because they would have had nothing on their roster.
“I think they still do have nothing,” RealGM.com NBA writer Jarrod Rudolph said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “You’re happy for a young guy to see the fruits of his labors paid off; $20 million is $20 million, and God bless him for getting it. But you look at what the Mavericks have in a guy like Jordan and then you have a Chandler Parsons and you have a Wes Matthews. They’re three talented guys, no doubt about it. But they’re three guys that have enjoyed success when they’ve had someone else setting the table. So when you look at that Dallas Mavericks roster, you ask yourself, who’s going to set the table? DeAndre (is) very athletic, very long; defensively, (you) can’t say enough about him. But we don’t know whether this guy has a post move. Because that’s not been the game he’s played. He’s a pick-and-roll player. Most of his offense comes from lobs, dunks, and the Mavericks don’t have anyone to facilitate that.”
They also don’t have a healthy roster. Parsons (knee) and Matthews (achilles) are both coming off injuries.
“You don’t even know if this team is going to be healthy moving forward,” Rudolph said. “But even if they are, who’s the guy that sets the table? Who’s the guy that sets up the offense and makes everything easier for them? So I think while it is a get for Mark Cuban to get a big-name free agent and show that Dallas is a good place to go and play, I don’t think it moves this team anywhere in the upper echelon of the Western Conference. They still find the same struggles that they’ve had.”
Jordan, to his credit, is arguably the best defensive player in basketball and averaged 11.5 points, 15.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks last season. But he also can’t shoot a jumper and is a career 41.7 percent free-throw shooter.
Is he worthy of a max deal?
“I mean, listen, you look at centers in this league and how they compare,” Rudolph said. “I think where we get mixed up is the max contract is thrown around so much now that the assumption is that everyone that gets the max is a max player – and that’s not the reality. It’s just the way the market is. And again, you can fault him for accepting money we all would accept, but he’s not a DeMarcus Cousins where he can draw the defense. He’s not a Dwight Howard where he can draw the defense. It’s just not his game. So when you say what is he good at? He’s a long, athletic, young, defensive player – very, very exciting if you get the ball above the rim.
“But you need someone to get him the ball,” Rudolph continued. “I don’t think he’s the guy that you throw the ball down into the post and he kicks it out to Chandler Parsons. I don’t think Chandler Parsons is the type of guy to create offense for him, so you need someone on that team that’s going to make the engine go. I think Dirk can give you as much as he can for someone his age, but you really need a guard that’s going to be able to set these guys up. You talk about a guy in Jordan that really hasn’t had to deal with teams gearing their defenses around him and playing out of a double and triple team. It’s just not who he is.
“So even at best, it’s going to take him a couple of years to adjust to being the man and playing in the role that they’re going to need him to play. I just don’t think he has that type of game. Can he find some success? Sure. But the success that is going to justify $20 million a year, I just don’t think that’s what type of game this kid has.”