Wednesday's roundup: Clippers push to keep Jordan

Associated Press

Dallas — A person with knowledge of the situation says Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has given up hope that free-agent center DeAndre Jordan will come to Dallas.

After a Los Angeles Clippers contingent traveled to Houston to try to convince Jordan to stay with his original team, the person said Cuban had begun telling members of his organization that Jordan was reneging on a deal with the Mavericks.

The person spoke Wednesday night on condition of anonymity because of the NBA's ban on public comments before players can sign contracts, starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Jordan and the Mavericks agreed to terms on a four-year, $80 million contract last Friday. The Clippers can offer a five-year deal worth even more once contracts can be signed starting Thursday — and Los Angeles put together a full-court press to keep Jordan with the only team he has ever played for over seven NBA seasons.

The Clippers contingent making a personal pitch to Jordan included Blake Griffin and Paul Pierce, according to a person with knowledge of the plan. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the details.

Cuban was already in Houston to try to persuade Jordan to stick with his commitment to the Mavericks, according to a second person who spoke to AP, also on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the team's plans. Jordan is a Houston native who played at Texas A&M.

Losing Jordan could be a blow to the Mavericks' hopes of winning their first playoff series since taking the franchise's first championship four years ago. It could also lead to a debate about the effectiveness of the NBA's moratorium in free agency.

The ban on signing deals for about a week and a half after the start of free agency was put into the labor agreement in an attempt to stop tampering, but instead has created the possibility of players having second thoughts.

Dallas lost point guard Jason Kidd to the New York Knicks in 2012 after he initially agreed to return to the Mavericks, who ended up missing the playoffs that season for the first time in 12 years.

Jordan has led the NBA in rebounding the past two years and is coming off career highs in scoring and rebounding at 11.5 points and 15.0 rebounds per game. He helped the Clippers get within a victory of the Western Conference finals for the first time, but a second-half collapse at home in Game 6 was followed by a loss in the deciding game at Houston.

Earlier this week, Clippers guard J.J. Redick said on Bleacher Report radio that the Clippers deserved an "F'' in free agency after losing Jordan.

"We had one priority this summer, and that was to re-sign D.J., and we missed out on that," Redick said. "So barring some miracle, (the) makeup of our team is completely different now."

The Mavericks, who lost to the Rockets in the first round, also have a four-year agreement with free-agent shooting guard Wesley Matthews, though the value of that deal is expected to depend on whether Dallas lands Jordan.

The unusual last-minute lobbying played out on Twitter with various players tweeting emojis with apparent references to traveling to Houston to meet with Jordan.

Dallas forward Chandler Parsons, who played a crucial role in getting the original commitment from Jordan, tweeted an emoji of an airplane. Griffin sent one with the same plane, plus a helicopter and a car. Clippers point guard Chris Paul had a tweet of a banana and a boat, apparently a joking reference to his recent vacation with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. Paul wasn't with the Clippers for their first meeting with Jordan last week.

The barrage of tweets prompted Kobe Bryant to weigh in with "Emoji battle?" — and adding five trophies for his five titles with the Lakers. The Golden State Warriors, still less than a month removed from winning the NBA title, offered one showing a trophy.

Salary cap: $70 million

The NBA salary cap has been set for next season at $70 million, a higher-than-expected number that paves the way for free agent contracts to be signed.

League officials said. the cap increased by 11 percent and the 2015-16 cap will be the highest ever. It had been projected to come in closer to $67 million until recently.

With the cap set, the league's moratorium will be lifted at midnight, and deals and trades that were agreed to since free agency opened on July 1 became official at 12:01 a.m. EDT today.

Also, the tax level increased 10.3 percent to $84.7 million.

Injury research set

The NBA is joining with GE Healthcare to promote research that could benefit players' health. League officials said the partnership aims to "reduce injuries, lengthen careers and improve post-career health for NBA players."

Slam dunks

The Hornets have agreed to a contract with free agent Jeremy Lin, a person familiar with the situation said.

... For a third consecutive summer, Hornets guard P.J. Hairston is facing legal trouble. Hairston was cited around noon on June 18 for driving with a revoked license, speeding, driving left of center and driving on expired tags, police said. Hornets officials had no comment.

... The Heat is being linked to Mavericks free-agent power forward Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire will meet Thursday with the Heat, according to Bleacher Report.

... The Suns reportedly have reached contract agreements with Sonny Weems and Ronnie Price.