Free Agency: Kobe Bryant recruiting Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan


Oct 31, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) gets by Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) for a basket in the second half of the game at Staples Center. Clippers won 118-111. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most renowned players in NBA history, Kobe Bryant, is recruiting the freakish athleticism and defense of Los Angeles Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan. And after the Los Angeles Lakers had yet another dismal season in 2014-15, after finishing the year with a 21-61 record, it’s not surprising that the Black Mamba has taken it upon himself to bring in any talent he can.

More from Clipperholics

To add even more urgency to the Lakers’ mission to sign a new big man during free agency, they’ve had to endure an entire season of watching their former star power forward Pau Gasol have one of the best years of his career with the Chicago Bulls. After having three All-Star seasons from 2008-11 with the Lakers, Gasol returned to elite form this year. He averaged 18.5, 11.8 rebounds (the best mark of his career) and 1.9 blocks per game. If only the Lakers still had someone like that.

Because after winning just 21 games, they’ve realized they won’t get anywhere with Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer and the ultimate bench guy that is Robert Sacre.

They’ve turned their attention to top targets such as LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Tail Blazers, DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, and now DeAndre Jordan.

From a Clippers standpoint, Kobe has already been recruiting Jordan prior to the Lakers’ meeting with him that will take place tomorrow. And seeing as the Black Mamba is widely regarded as at least a top ten player of all time, and the Lakers are the second most successful franchise in NBA history with 16 championships, they have the kind of prestige that may tempt Jordan away from the Clippers. Even if he only has the chance to play with Kobe himself for a year or two.

May 6, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) reacts in game two of the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times has reported that “Jordan has gotten a call from Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, the officials said. Bryant wanted Jordan to know the Lakers are interested”. In a separate report, Turner also said that “Jordan, 26, has also been wooed by a star-laden cast, including the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant”.

Whether there have been multiple attempts by Kobe to recruit Jordan to the Lakers — or merely just a phone call to pry him away from their L.A. rivals — is uncertain. Although, being recruited by a five-time champion and 17-time All-Star must at least heighten Jordan’s interest in the Lakers’ a little. Because even if the team are far from contending right now, Jordan may feel more valued when he isn’t on a team with two highly-praised All-Stars such as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

Within the next week, we’ll have a better understanding of who Jordan may be leaning towards, or possibly even his final decision. If he goes elsewhere, he can be offered a four-year contract for $80 million (if the team is under the cap). If he stays with the Clippers, he can be offered a five-year max contract of $108 million.

But even if another team makes the suggestion that Jordan will be more important to them than the Clippers, it hardly carries much weight — seeing as he doesn’t have a post-up game to be used as an offensive option, and he’s already vital to the Clippers as their lead rebounder and essential interior defender.

As his situation stands right now, he either needs to choose the pedigree of a team such as the Lakers (who offer him the chance to become the star center of such a historic franchise) or the Dallas Mavericks (who could feature him more heavily in their offense in pick-and-rolls). Finally, he can just stay with the superior talent of the Clippers, take the extra money, and continue as the third man and defensive anchor.

Next: The Clippers are interested in bringing back Caron Butler