- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Mark Cuban wants us all to know that he is so, so over the DeAndre Jordan stuff. He doesn't even know who that is, and he certainlydoesn't give a hoot about the Los Angeles Clippers! Like, he doesn't even begin to think about DeAndre's decision to renege on his free-agent choice to leave L.A. and join the Dallas Mavericks before having second thoughts that ended with the center's return to the Clippers.
On the eve of Jordan's first visit to Dallas since the drama, do you want to know how little the Mavericks owner cares about it? THIS little:
So take a look at Cubes now, hanging onto months-old correspondence like a scorned suitor who's not one of the world's foremost advocates for and investors in messages that self-destruct. (You've got to imagine the fact that Jordan's private-message wavering happened via Snapchat rather than CyberDust made everything that much harder to swallow.)
Cuban's not the only one doubling down on doing DeAndre dirty. Here's the sports page of the Dallas Morning News, as shared by venerable Clips play-by-play man Ralph Lawler:
A cut-it-out-for-yourself mask of DeAndre Jordan as the literal Devil. Amazing.
If Cuban's comments sound like they're 93 million light years away from "It's over. You move on," that's because ... y'know ... they are.
You can certainly understand why — apologies, explanations and air-clearings aside — Cuban still isn't the biggest fan of a player whose change of heart led to a ridiculous tug of war, scores of social media shenanigans and a nearly unprecedented fight for his services.
[Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]
It'd be odd for Cuban to be, like, stoked, considering the whole fiasco ended with L.A. returning to the ranks of contenders and leaving Dallas looking like a rudderless crew likely to finish outside the Western Conference playoff picture. The early-season results seem to reinforce that outlook, as L.A.'s opened up 5-2 while outscoring opponents by nearly six points per 100 possessions, while Dallas sits at 3-4 with middle-of-the-pack marks in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
That said, as ever, it's Cuban's brotastic brand of response — the "Meow Mix" jingle, because GET IT? — combined with the inability to let go that's the bummer here.
He couches it in the broader language of good old-fashioned rowdiness: "This is still the entertainment business at its core, and one of the fun things to do is come in and boo people, so we'll actively encourage it, and it'll be fun for fans." But man, it'd be nice if ye-olde fun-tyme base-rilin' didn't wind up submarine-style and aim straight for lowest-common denominator, or include jilted-ex pseudo-justice like dangling old text messages over the edge of a cliff. And while Cuban told ESPN that the Mavs won't "have any in-game entertainment elements that specifically address Jordan [because] that wouldn't be appropriate" — "We can't do anything [...] I wish we could, but we can't" — it's worth noting that the Mavs already did broadcast one awful DeAndre-focused clip earlier this season, so any ascent to the moral high-ground would have to have been one very recent climb.
Nobody's asking Cuban and Jordan to kiss and make up or anything, but this all just feels unseemly. As we always do in trying times, then, we turn to the Tall Baller from the G for balance and perspective. From Dwain Price of the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram:
"I’m not really worried about DeAndre Jordan right now,’’ [Dirk] Nowitzki said after scoring 18 points in 20 minutes against the Pelicans. "He changed his mind, he changed his opinion in July – that’s freaking six months ago.
"He might get booed. If so, that’s fine.’’ [...]
"We all changed our minds a hundred times in our lives and in our careers,’’ Nowitzki said. "The way he went about it, I think that’s what rubbed people wrong a little bit.
"The not responding to Cuban any more, and just kind of shut everybody out from the Mavs’ organization. I think that’s what everybody was a little mad at back then. But like I said, that was in freaking July. We’ve moved on a long time ago, and we’ve got a season to play.’’
For his part, Jordan — who's averaging 10.1 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.9 blocks and 1.1 assists in 32 minutes per game this season, and shooting a career-best 76.3 percent from the floor (albeit against a career-worst 34.2 percent from the free-throw line) — seems intent on dismissing the elevated emotion surrounding Wednesday's contest. From Fran Blinebury of NBA.com:
"Nah, I don't care," he told reporters in L.A. when asked about what the potential atmosphere. "It's cool. It's another game. It's going to be hostile, but I mean, it's supposed to be.
"Yeah, it's going to be fun. At the end of the day, it's a basketball game."
Even so, Jordan's teammates expect him to thrive in the hostile environment of the American Airlines Center, according to Rowan Kavner of Clippers.com:
“He’s an adult,” [J.J.] Redick said. “It will bring out the best in him. DJ always responds to those types of atmospheres. It doesn’t necessarily have to be negativity toward him, but he thrives off that energy. I expect him to have a big game.”
Such an outcome would figure to elicit some courtside outbursts from Cuban, who paired his odd recitation of DeAndre text facts with another round of insistence that this is all just a big laugh and that the Jordan saga, such as it is, is totally no big deal. More from Price of the Star-Telegram:
“Look, this is not thermonuclear war,” Cuban said. “This is a basketball game and for the fans, it’s supposed to be fun.” [...]
Cuban, with tongue in cheek, tried to downplay the significance of what transpired between Jordan and himself more than four months ago.
“The whole thing happened in a week,” Cuban said. “That’s not a foundation for anything. It’s not like we were lifelong friends, it’s not like we used to date, it’s not like he was the best man in anybody’s wedding that I even know, so there’s nothing there. If it would have been a long, drawn-out process, maybe.”
Methinks the Cubes doth protest too much.
More NBA coverage:
- - - - - - -