In the aftermath of DeAndre Jordan’s stunning decision to renege on a free-agent agreement with the Dallas Mavericks and rejoin the Los Angeles Clippers, one question has stood out more than any other — why couldn’t Jordan, or at least someone close to him, have called or met with the Mavericks to explain or inform them of his change of heart? While Jordan’s apparent unhappiness with agent Dan Fegan complicated the mechanics of such an action, basic ethics would seem to dictate that he owed the Mavericks some kind of communication, even if only over text or ephemeral messaging service. His handling of the situation appears to have upset Mavs owner Mark Cuban and five-time dinner guest Chandler Parsons more than the reversal itself.
Jordan finally issued an apology on Friday night, although it’s unlikely to make the Mavericks feel much better. Here’s what the 27-year-old center posted to Twitter:
Jordan appears to be the only Clippers starter who does not use emojis.
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It’s not clear if Jordan has apologized to Cuban and the Mavericks in private, but the absence of reports to that effect and the tenor of these tweets suggest that no such conversation has taken place. If that’s the case, then these tweets appear even more perfunctory, less a meaningful admission of a mistake than a public relations meant to show that Jordan realizes that people are upset at him. There is no reference to Jordan’s prior silence or an attempt to explain what happened on Wednesday. It’s just an apology for changing teams.
Frankly, the decision to move back to the Clippers is the least of Jordan’s offenses and arguably not one at all. Handshake agreements reached during the free-agent moratorium carry weight, but players have often gone back on their word under these circumstances and others. (When the Houston Rockets let Parsons become a free agent last summer, they did so with the understanding that he would re-sign, which obviously didn’t happen.) For that matter, teams go back on handshake agreements with players all the time. It’s not nice when anyone does it, but it is a risk of doing business in the NBA.
However, the mere fact that Jordan has now acknowledged the Mavericks’ feelings without referencing the bizarre situation Wednesday immediately makes the apology inadequate. If it’s just business and not personal, then Jordan would have been better off staying quiet. He’s now opened himself up to a further debate on the ethics of his behavior, and that’s an argument he’s not likely to win.
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