Welcome, DeAndre and Wes
- Updated: July 7, 2015
Ever since the Dallas Mavericks hoisted up the Larry O’Brien trophy on the court in Miami back in June 2011, it hasn’t been the most successful or enjoyable ride. Three first round playoff exits and a season of a mere .500 record sandwiched in-between. Off the court, Dallas has been rejected by superstar free agents each offseason since. Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony… all of them passed on the opportunity to play in Big D. Over the course of a 18 hour stretch late Thursday night and into Friday afternoon, the Mavs front office and fans alike were finally able to celebrate some big ones saying yes.
DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews are coming to Dallas next season.
The nervous waiting period for the Mavericks community ended around 3 PM on Friday when it came down on Twitter that DeAndre Jordan had decided to accept the Mavericks offer of a 4 year, $80 million contract with the fourth year being a player option for Jordan. This news came not too long after Mavs fans were waking up to the news that former Blazers guard Matthews had turned down the Kings 4 year, $64 million offer for a deal with the Mavericks that will net him the same number of years, but considerably less money.
Matthews accepting an offer for less money and Jordan leaving the city of Los Angeles should finally flick away the annoying notion that big stars don’t want to come play in Dallas. Adding the pair of newly signed free agents to the Dirk Nowitzki/Chandler Parsons duo gives the Mavericks a really solid core that should play well with each other.
What are the Mavericks getting here? In Jordan, Dallas is getting a potentially franchise-altering center who is only 26. Jordan has taken his lumps in Los Angeles over the first seven seasons in the league. A second round pick out of Texas A&M, the 6’11” big man has always been a second-tier option for the Clippers organization. After acquiring Chris Paul before the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 season, the franchise put all their marketing eggs into the CP3/Blake Griffin combo. This carried over to the court, too. Jordan averaged a career-high 6.5 shot attempts per game last season. Even with LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Nic Batum with him in Portland, Wes Matthews has averaged at least 12 attempts per game in each of his five seasons with the Blazers. The Clippers never used Jordan for anything more than a lob when defenders sagged off of a guard’s paint penetration or to clean up the mess on the offensive boards. During an interview with 1310 The Ticket, Mavs owner Mark Cuban explained how the Mavs pitch to Jordan focused on how he could reach his full potential here. He will get post up opportunities. There will be plays for him.
When Blake Griffin missed considerable time after the All-Star break, Jordan put up staggering numbers without playing next to Griffin. He averaged more than 20 rebounds per game, including a 27 rebound performance in a game against the Mavericks, and close to 17 points per game. While it may not be realistic to expect that over an 82 game season, playing along a power forward like Dirk Nowitzki, someone who draws defenders away from the paint, should greatly benefit Jordan’s offensive game.
With Wes Matthews, it’s not as much of a slam dunk due to the rightful concern over his Achilles injury he suffered back in March in a game against the Mavericks. However, if Matthews heals properly, it has the potential to be one of the best signings in franchise history. The 28-year-old is one of the best knockdown three-point shooters in the league with a career average of 39%. Better than the likes of Dirk and James Harden at 38% for their careers. The 6’5, 220-pound guard plays rugged defense and will be a big part of an improved Dallas defense next year. Matthews is also regarded as one of the best teammates in the league and is often referred to as a “glue guy.” Every team needs those and his positive attitude will definitely be an improvement over the likes of Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis.
Even with the addition of these two stars, Dallas isn’t anywhere close to being considered a title-favorite next season. These moves aren’t necessarily about next year, though. A Chandler Parsons/DeAndre Jordan/Wes Matthews trio offers a foundation for the Mavericks to work with for the fast approaching “Post-Dirk” era. Something Dallas had no idea what to do with this time a few days ago. Locking these guys into multi-year contracts also gives Dallas the opportunity to build some continuity on their roster; something that has been completely absent since their championship run. Just ask Dirk Nowitzki and coach Rick Carlisle. Continuity and a roster in place is likely one of the biggest factors in free agents deciding to sign places and was probably a big part of why Dallas got so many no’s the last few seasons. They should be in much better shape to land a superstar next summer when the likes of Kevin Durant and Mike Conley become available.
It has been an emotional few days for Mavericks fans, but they can now breathe easy and enjoy two new pillars of their team. Welcome, Mr. Jordan and Mr. Matthews.
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