By the end of last season, DeAndre Jordan had dropped out of the rotation for the Brooklyn Nets. They had players more worthy of minutes at center, and Jordan had become a shadow of the dominant inside presence he once was in his prime.
It’s led to a key question this offseason: Where does Jordan fit into the Nets’ 2021-22 puzzle? Better yet: What if he doesn’t fit into their plans at all?
Jordan reportedly is a good bet to part ways with the Nets ahead of training camp. And if he’s bought out? Well, he just might land with another top contender.
“They (the Lakers) seem to want one more point guard and one more playmaker, and I think they’d be open to one more center, someone in that Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee type,” Shelburne said. “So another buyout candidate who I think you should watch for, and this is another one that’s a bit harder to see how it’s going to happen, OK? But DeAndre Jordan in Brooklyn – they are way over the luxury tax. I don’t think he would do a buyout there. I think if he doesn’t play at all or depending how he fits there, this would be more of a midseason thing, probably.”
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Nets Beat Writer Thinks Jordan and the Nets Are Bound for a Breakup
The 6-foot-11 Jordan is still only 33, and he’s only four years removed from his only All-Star appearance in 2017. Before that, he led the league in rebounding in both 2014 and 2015 while he was starring for the Los Angeles Clippers.
But all of that is now way behind Jordan.
He has averaged 9.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over 932 games in his NBA career. Those averages dipped to 7.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks a season ago – and that was before Nets coach Steve Nash relegated Jordan to the bench.
As part of his most recent mailbag for The Athletic, Nets beat Alex Schiffer was asked about Brooklyn’s plan for Jordan this year.
“From what I’ve been hearing, I would be surprised if Jordan is a Net by the time the team heads to San Diego for training camp,” Schiffer wrote. “He’s already been shopped throughout the draft and offseason and you can start to read the writing on the wall. Now, assuming he’s gone, I’m curious about the exit route. Is it a trade, when there has already been a lack of a market for him and the Nets lack draft capital and young talent to part with for a significant return? Buyout? Waived? Regardless, I do not expect him back.”
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Who Starts at Center?
If Jordan is out of the mix, how will the center position play out for Brooklyn? Will Blake Griffin still be starting for the Nets by the end of the season? Will they pivot to the younger Nic Claxton? Could they instead go with a small-ball lineup?
Schiffer was asked those questions, too.
“I expect Griffin to start at center alongside the big three and Harris,” Schiffer wrote in his piece for The Athletic. “Claxton is likely the first big off the bench and maybe the Nets go small with Durant alongside James Johnson, similar to what they did with him and Jeff Green last season. Maybe Alize Johnson gets a crack in a similar lineup with Durant.”
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