The Philadelphia 76ers thought they found Joel Embiid’s backup when they signed Willie Cauley-Stein. The former Dallas Mavericks big man has yet to see any minutes two games into the James Harden experiment. Was the 7-footer just a placeholder?
Rumors are swirling about a possible move for the Sixers after the The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the Los Angeles Lakers were intending to waive one-time All-Star center DeAndre Jordan. He would give them another big man alongside Cauley-Stein, Paul Millsap, Paul Reed, and Charles Bassey. Or make one or two of those guys expendable.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski only fueled speculation when he reported that the Sixers would be in “aggressive pursuit” of Jordan. The 33-year-old played for Sixers head coach Doc Rivers when he was guiding the Los Angeles Clippers and the two shared a special relationship. Rivers went so far as to say the Clippers should raise Jordan’s No. 6 to the rafters.
“DJ means so much to your team offensively than anybody ever gives him credit for,” Rivers said of Jordan in 2018, via the Los Angeles Times. “He’s one of the better defensive players in the league and everyone just keeps talking defense, and that’s fine. But he really does affect your offense a lot when he’s not on the floor.”
Jordan was used sparingly this season during 32 games with the Lakers. He averaged 4.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in just 12.8 minutes per game. The 6-foot-11, 265-pounder hasn’t appeared in a contest since seeing nine minutes against the New Orleans Pelicans on February 27. He was linked to joining the Sixers on the buyout market minutes after the Harden trade was announced.
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Rivers Compared Jordan to Ben Simmons
Rivers referenced Jordan last season when discussing Ben Simmons’ struggles from the free-throw line in the postseason. Teams were employing a “Hack-a-DeAndre” philosophy way before the “Hack-a-Ben” became a thing. Jordan shoots 47.4% from the charity stripe for his career. In each instance, they wanted to get the worst free-throw shooters on the floor to the line as much as possible. The funny thing, Jordan’s percentages actually rose under Rivers’ tutelage.
“I had DeAndre Jordan going through the same stuff during the playoffs and through his career,” Rivers said last June as he compared Jordan to Simmons. “It is a mental game. We all know that.”
Jordan grew to become one of Rivers’ favorite players and a key ingredient to those Clippers’ playoff teams. In fact, the veteran coach lobbied for his jersey to be retired at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“When you think of [Jordan] more than anybody, you think LA Clipper,” Rivers told reporters, via ESPN. “I think DJ, in my opinion, will qualify [to have his Clippers jersey retired] when he’s done, for sure.”
Ex-Lakers Big Man Trolled on Twitter
Jordan seems like the perfect fit on paper to spell Embiid. He’s aggressive. He has size. And he knows Rivers’ offense. But there’s a reason why the Lakers have decided to part ways.
The former second-round pick has looked washed up this season as evidenced by a terrible outlet pass he committed on Sunday night versus New Orleans. Twitter openly mocked the gaffe and turned Jordan into an instant meme. And Richard Jefferson brought out the Major League reference.