DeAndre Jordan’s very dramatic summer ended with a separation. Not that it’s worthy of tears but Jordan has parted ways with his agent(s) Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana of Relativity Media. Per league rules, Jordan has to wait another 15 days before signing with another agent. Sucks for him that he still has to fork over a cool $3.5 million to Fegan and Akana for negotiating his free agent contract of $88 million.
The Jordan-Fegan divorce would have been a non-story buried on some fifth page of an obscure paper but Jordan made sure it would be headline grabbing because of what he did this summer, and, because of what he didn’t do.
What Jordan did: he rocked Doc Rivers world. He agreed to leave the Clippers and play for Dallas. From the very beginning it was an exercise in insanity that only DeAndre Jordan would succumb to, partly because DeAndre Jordan was a neophyte in this sort of thing, an innocent who lapped up praise like a skinny stray chews on filet outside a meat market. Ask yourself this: what veteran NBA player would willingly leave a contender for a non-contender and for less money to play in a city that wasn’t Los Angeles?
Jordan was romanced and courted and wined and dined and plied with liquor and women and VIP lounges- normal stuff. But the Mavs went further. They promised Jordan he would be the star. No more shitty Chris Paul treatment. The offense woud run through Jordan. Everyone had a straight face laying out this lie in a swanky restaurant with plates on a tablecloth. It was a ridiculous proposition, on a good day. It was as if the Mavericks brass had never seen DeAndre’s game which consists of dunks, two footers, dunks, one footers, dunks…and a ton of missed free throws. A skilled offensive game is a foreign concept to the big man. Jordan had Chris Paul issues and the Mavs correctly identified Jordan as being hungry for attention. He was starving and they fed him a banquet of calorie rich praise and ideas and possibiities that never would have worked outside of the restaurant they pitched this lunacy story in.
What Jordan didn’t do: he never called Mark Cuban to explain himself. It was now a soap opera on social media with minute by minute accounts. That Jordan went back on his word, that he stiffed Cuban at the very end called for common courtesy, the kind your mother teaches you when you are six and you break her flower pot. Jordan owed Cuban an explanation, man to man. When Jordan seemed oblivious to the standards of decency, his image changed from a clueless, fun loving, free throw anemic, Chris Paul envying player, to Jordan in the moment, rapaciously juvenile, an insecure 21 year old kid instead of a 27 year old man.
Dan Fegan was a convenient villain in this saga which Jordan orchestrated by not having the guts to pick up the phone and tell Mark Cuban he was having cold feet. Fegan may indeed be guilty of what many believe and is driven by nepotism. His close friendship with Mark Cuban sets Cuban up as his personal beneficiary and is a slippery slope. But Fegan is a client of DeAndre Jordan, it is Jordan who is paying him and not the other way around. Jordan has the last word.
Fegan has been accused in the past of steering his clients towards Dallas in his scheme to provide Mark Cuban players. Another client of Fegan’s, Chandler Parsons, signed with Dallas last summer. Cuban is quick to point out Parsons was the exception, not the rule and he uses the Dwight Howard example to make his case. It goes like this: Howard was also a Fegan client, a big one who went on one of those damned egocentric free agent tours. But, Howard signed with Houston, not Dallas, even though Howard took a meeting with Cuban.
For all the heat Fegan took for his ties with Cuban, Jordan, who had his mother apologize to Cuban rather than doing it himself, is using Fegan as a scapegoat even if Fegan has something to gain by nudging his clients towards Dallas. Jordan is the decision maker. He can’t make something happen he doesn’t want to happen.
Really, it came down to the fact that Jordan liked the attention of being courted. He is used to coming in third place, being irrelevant and largely unnoticed outside of his dunks and morose trips to the line. Once you get past Chris Paul and Blake Griffin there’ s not much else there. Jordan wanted to be treated like a star and he was, particularly in those waning hours of house arrest or team bonding or whatever the Clippers want to spin it as. Being a star looks easy. What Jordan didn’t anticipate was that the star treatment included heavy scrutiny and vilification and name calling and lots and lots of judgment.
Recently, the Clippers were fined $250,000 by the league for making a third party endorsement pitch in their effort to keep DeAndre Jordan. Everything about the summer Clippers pitch was a fail. And yet they were saved anyway by Jordan’s conscience. He couldn’t leave the Clippers. He didn’t want to escape Los Angeles. He didn’t want to say goodbye. Only to Dan Fegan would he end up cutting ties.
photo via commons.wikimedia.org