As the season gets closer, DeAndre Jordan’s odds of being on Nets’ roster gets slimmer.
The Post has reported that the Nets have tried to move him via trade, but having failed that, could look to buy him out. And despite recent reports that Jordan wasn’t interested in accepting a buyout, The Athletic on Monday reported he and the Nets are actively discussing a separation agreement.
The Nets and the 6-foot-11, 265-pound Jordan “are working toward parting ways via contract buyout,” The Athletic reported, which is hardly a shock at this point.
Jordan was a DNP in the final 16 games of the season, including all 12 in the playoffs. Although the 33-year-old is still an imposing figure, vicious dunker and ferocious rebounder, his mobility has eroded and he’s essentially limited to an old-school drop coverage game defensively. He doesn’t fit the new switching scheme that Brooklyn installed upon the arrival of head coach Steve Nash.
Blake Griffin started down the stretch at center, and is expected to again this upcoming season. The younger Nic Claxton is a perfect scheme fit with his unique ability to switch 1-through-5. And the Nets used a first-round draft pick on rookie Day’Ron Sharpe, a strong offensive rebounder, who is the same size as Jordan and fills the same big-bodied role.
Jordan signed with Brooklyn in 2019 in a package deal with friends Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. His four-year, $40 million contract was always going to be worrisome on the backend, but it was simply accepted as part of the cost of building a superteam.
Now, Jordan has two years and $19.7 million left on that deal, including $9.9 million this upcoming season.
Players of Jordan’s stature can leave anywhere from as little as 20 to as much as 33 percent of their salary on the table when taking a buyout. That’s where the negotiations come in.
Several days ago ESPN reported that Jordan was unlikely to accept a buyout, but could land with the Lakers if he did. On Monday, Bleacher Report also suggested that Jordan could head West to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
It should be noted that Nets owner Joe Tsai is already committed to paying an astronomical sum in luxury tax. A buyout isn’t going to impact the cap or significantly lower Tsai’s outlay, but it would give Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks another roster spot (albeit a veteran minimum) to work with. And league sources have steadfastly claimed that Marks isn’t done working.
Sources told the Post there is mutual interest between the Nets and 23-year-old free agent big man Isaiah Hartenstein. They’ve had a long flirtatious relationship with the seven-footer, liking him in the draft and showing interest in signing him in 2019 only to have him be ineligible for the playoffs in the Orlando Bubble.
The Athletic also reported Brooklyn was interested in signing Paul Millsap, although sources have indicated that move is unlikely. Brooklyn only has a veteran minimum (and a two-way) to offer, and the 36-year-old forward is believed to want more than that. The Bulls, Clippers and Warriors were also listed as possible landing spots for Millsap.
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