LAS VEGAS – With the reshaping of the Los Angeles Clippers, DeAndre Jordan senses the organization will be in contention for a deep playoff run, and yet the big man insisted he couldn’t have cared less about where he plays next season. Jordan never had a discussion with Clippers management about his standing amid trade speculation, and he’s adamant he never talked to his agent in the process, either.
In Jordan’s mind, interest from other NBA teams meant he was desired in a way perhaps the Clippers didn’t feel at times this offseason. As the Clippers pursued Kevin Garnett, Jordan was ready to move on if they pulled off a deal – and he took all the supposed interest as respect out of franchises.
“If I go, that just means that, honestly, somebody else wants you,” Jordan told RealGM on Tuesday. “As long as someone else is interested, and you’re wanted, you can’t feel negative. I never listened to the s--- on the news or the radio. I just wanted to get better and be ready for the season. Whatever jersey I had on, I really didn’t care to be honest with you.
“And if I got traded, then s---, so what? I’m still going to be in the NBA. I’m still going to be playing the game that I love, just for a different team.”
Now, Jordan appears stable with the Clippers, and he has already had two conversations with Doc Rivers about his role within the team. He was excited when the Clippers hired Rivers, hearing how powerful the coach has been in building mettle into his players.
“He makes you feel a lot more confident,” Jordan said. “I can’t wait. Individually, I know how much better he’ll make me, and also us as a whole.”
Jordan had appeared to progress with his free throw issues two years ago, shooting nearly 53 percent from the line, but he dropped below 40 percent once again last season. He knows defense hasn’t been an issue with him, nor is it holding Blake Griffin back, but he’s aware they’ll both need to make strides offensively.
Clearly, the USA Basketball officials believe in Jordan’s physical, defensive presence inside, and the 25-year-old mostly will use this week’s minicamp to take in a level of competition that he wouldn’t find anywhere else now in the summer.
“This camp is educational, learning a lot not only from the Hall of Fame coaches, I’m learning a lot from the players as well,” Jordan said. “Just getting that real NBA bump. I know all of us are going to have great seasons next year.
“If you’re back at home, you might get a little competition. No disrespect to the European guys who are playing overseas, and college guys, but this is the top of the line NBA competition. This is the highest level – with younger guys. This is where you need to be.”