The Clippers need to focus on the future if they trade DeAndre Jordan

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 28: DeAndre Jordan
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 28: DeAndre Jordan /

The Los Angeles Clippers need to focus on the future should they trade DeAndre Jordan in the coming days.

With more rumors swelling that the Los Angeles Clippers will trade DeAndre Jordan, the team needs to make sure they stay on target with their plan.

Step one? Don’t take back a bad contract from the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks are the likely trade partner for the Clippers this summer. They badly want DeAndre, even after he scorned them years ago. As currently constructed, the Mavs need an athletic, defensive minded center in their starting lineup. Getting DJ to opt-in and trading for him instead of signing him or another free agent allows them to retain his bird rights so they can re-sign him next season over the soft salary cap.

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The best part of trading DJ to the Mavs for the Clippers? They don’t necessarily have to take back any salary. Since Dallas has the cap space to absorb DeAndre’s contract, they don’t have to worry about the salaries involved in the deal matching.

The Clippers are assuredly aware of this, but they need to make sure they aren’t blinded by the potential prospect of bringing in a player. The main concern would be Harrison Barnes, who while is a very solid small forward, is making $24 million next year and $25 million the year after.

Barnes is attractive, but his price tag, combined with the fact that the team has Tobias Harris, is not. Wesley Matthews is slightly cheaper but a worse player and doesn’t fit the long term goal of the team.

That goal? It appears to be to develop youth and possibly bring in a free agent in the summer of 2019. The Clips will have cap space next summer and will likely make runs at Kawhi Leonard (provided he isn’t traded and extended), Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler.

If the team takes money back now, that all but will eliminate them from getting one of these star players next summer, unless they are able to jump through hoops.

The Clippers will likely part ways with DeAndre one way or another in the coming days, so they just need to stay on track with their plan.