You don’t become a billionaire by holding grudges, at least according to Mark Cuban.
The outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks was left at the altar three years ago after free-agent center DeAndre Jordan backed out of an agreed-to deal with Cuban to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Friday night, Cuban and Jordan made good on that former deal, with Jordan agreeing to a one-year contract to sign with Dallas. So much for any lingering bad blood between the two.
“There’s like four guys I hold grudges with, and three of them are from grade school, maybe even before,” Cuban said to ESPN hours after Jordan officially signed with the Mavericks on Friday. “I just want to win. Look, only Dirk [Nowitzki] and J.J. [Barea] were there from that period anyway. All of our guys were like, ‘Go get him! Go get him!'”
Cuban said the conversation with Jordan, who averaged 12.0 points and 15.2 rebounds a game for the Clippers last season, was quick and to the point.
“I talked to him on the phone, and he’s like, ‘Everything behind us?’ I’m like, ‘Let’s go win.’ He goes, ‘Let’s go to war.’ Done.”
Jordan will make $22.9 million with Dallas next season.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told ESPN he did not speak to Jordan about mending fences about how things went down three years ago.
“There was no need. There just wasn’t,” Carlisle said. “Sometimes things take a while to happen. Sometimes you have obstacles, you work through them and figure it out. That’s what we did.
“He’s a good fit for any team that’s trying to get better. He gives us a great rim presence on both ends of the floor.”
Cuban said the short-term deal is a better fit for the present-day Mavs than the four-year, maximum-salary agreement that was made, then backed out of by Jordan, in 2015.
“It’s not like it was a few years back when we had a veteran team and we were trying to make it all work together,” Cuban said. “We have a relatively young team. We wanted to get a chance to see how he fits, he wanted to see how he fits, and if we make it work and we get to where we think we can be, we keep it all together.
“It was really just making us both comfortable. There’s no question about his skill set. There’s no question about his abilities. There’s no question about any of it. It’s just that he wanted to check us out, too, and I think he was just done with where he was.”
Cuban believes Dallas, which struggled to a 24-58 record last season, will be in the playoff chase next season, especially with Jordan in the middle.
“We thought DeAndre gave us the best chance to win now. And not just now, but going forward,” he said.
“[Jordan] makes us much better,” Cuban said. “I think he’ll be more engaged this year. It’s a contract year obviously. Not everybody was all excited last year where he was. The West is a beast, but I think we can compete for that playoff spot and see where it goes from there.”