Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press
Los Angeles Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan reportedly wants to play for the Houston Rockets.
Kelly Iko of USA Today’s Rockets Wire reported the news, noting Jordan “has remained focused on the possibility of playing” in his hometown of Houston. The report said Jordan told multiple Rockets players as much during the season.
According to Iko, Jordan even talked to several Houston players after the Rockets and Clippers’ infamous locker room altercation following a January game and pointed to his “frustration” with Los Angeles and preference to play elsewhere.
It wasn’t long ago that the Clippers were Western Conference contenders, but they traded Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons during the season and Chris Paul to the Rockets prior to it. The moves left Jordan as the sole remaining member of the team’s old Big Three, and his frustration came during a playoff-less campaign.
Iko pointed out Jordan has a $24.1 million player option for 2018-19 but “is almost certain to decline” it to become a free agent. The report pointed to a possible sign-and-trade with Clint Capela going to the Clippers as one way to bring Jordan to the Rockets, but the Houston big man is 24 years old to Jordan’s 29 and thrived on both ends of the floor at times this season.
Moving him for Jordan wouldn’t be much of an upgrade to Houston’s championship hopes even if it did reunite the Clippers center with Paul.
This isn’t the first time the Rockets have been connected to Jordan, as Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reported in February they “got fairly far along” on a deal a year ago but didn’t have the same need at the trade deadline after Capela developed into a formidable player.
Even if it’s not Houston, whichever team adds Jordan—if he does become a free agent—will land a two-time All-Defensive selection, three-time All-NBA selection and two-time rebounding champion who averaged 12.0 points and 15.2 rebounds a game this past season.
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