When DeAndre Jordan signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019, it came as part of a global deal with Kyrie irving and Kevin Durant, and the two megastars signed contracts below the maximum to preserve the salary cap space to sign the former All-Star center that summer.
Two years after the four-year, $ 40 million contract he signed in Brooklyn, Jordan was traded to the Detroit Pistons and summarily resigned, paving the way for him to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.
When Jordan left one star-studded roster for another, the great man said his relationship with the dynamic Nets duo soured on his way out the door.
“We’re definitely not friends anymore, so …” Jordan joked with a laugh during his introductory video press conference for the Lakers.
He quickly assured that the trio’s friendship remained intact. It was his role with the Nets, who came to depend on Blake griffin and Nicolas Claxton in the fifth last season before signing LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul millsap to add to his frontcourt rotation this summer, that changed.
“We are friends before basketball, after basketball and I think ultimately we all want to be happy,” Jordan said. “And being able to compete is something that is very important to me and they understand it. And we are brothers beyond basketball, so being teammates or not is not going to affect or affect our relationship.”
Jordan said his move to Detroit, along with four second-round picks and $ 5.78 million, for Sekou Doumboya and Jahlil Okafor, it was the Nets organization that was working with him to help him find more opportunities. Jordan took a $ 4 million purchase from the Pistons and will earn the Lakers veteran’s $ 2.6 million minimum, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
“It’s that both parties wanted to find something that was better for both of them,” he said. “And I feel like they gave me that respect as a veteran player so that I could understand that I wanted to be able to compete … It just worked better for both of us.”
Jordan, 33, is the latest 30-something former All-Star to join a Lakers team that is already packed with such players as Lebron James, Russell westbrook, Carmelo anthony, Rajon rondo, Howard and Gasol.
While he doesn’t have the pre-existing personal ties to the Lakers group that he had with Durant and Irving, he has looked up to many team members from afar.
“Just being able to be on a team like this with guys you respect and guys you’ve raced with in the past; going into my fourteenth season has been great to see: ‘I wonder what it would be like to play with this guy.’ “Jordan shared. “And you always think about that, whether you tell people or not.”
Jordan will return to Los Angeles, where he spent the first 10 years of his career playing for the Clippers.
“Obviously as he gets older he starts to see different things and honestly with the Clippers teams that we had, we were unlucky,” Jordan said. “On the team that I was on last year, we had a bit of bad luck with injuries and a few little things like that. But you definitely don’t want to take it for granted … I’m excited to be able to be here and hang out with these guys and building chemistry and it’s going to be a process, but I think we’re all ready and excited for it. “