The Brooklyn Nets are working toward a buyout with veteran center DeAndre Jordan, according to Shams Charania and Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. The two sides have not made a final decision on parting ways, according to The Athletic, but Jordan remaining in Brooklyn appears “increasingly unlikely.” Jordan started 43 of the 57 games he played in last season, but did not play a single postseason minute after being supplanted in the rotation by buyout additions Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge as well as young big man Nic Claxton.
Jordan originally signed a four-year, $40 million deal with Brooklyn alongside his close friends Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in the summer of 2019. However, he has failed to live up to his former All-Star status. Jordan was a reserve under Kenny Atkinson for most of his first season with the Nets, only gaining the starting job over Jarrett Allen when Atkinson was fired in the middle of the season. His slip from the rotation last season made justifying his salary even harder. Jordan has $19.7 million remaining on his contract over the next two seasons, and any money Brooklyn can get Jordan to give up would be helpful.
The Nets owe roughly $306 million in salaries and luxury-tax payments, and even if they can only convince him to give back the veteran’s minimum salary he’d make on a new team, they’d save millions by keeping his roster spot empty until buyout season. Signing a replacement immediately likely wouldn’t carry financial savings, but it would allow the Nets to add a player they’d feel more comfortable using in the postseason. They have recently been linked to veteran big man Paul Millsap.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Lakers are a team to watch for Jordan if he does receive a buyout. Although Marc Gasol is slated to return at center for them, recent reports have suggested that might not be the case. Jordan spent the first 10 years of his career in Los Angeles playing for the Clippers.
At 33 years old, Jordan’s All-NBA days are long behind him, but in the right system, he can still be effective as a lob threat and a drop-coverage defender for limited minutes. The Nets prefer to switch defensively, and with Claxton and Griffin earning the bulk of their center minutes, they just don’t have a role left for Jordan.