The Los Angeles Lakers formally signed and introduced center DeAndre Jordan on Thursday. Jordan — the latest former NBA All-Star to join the Lakers on the veteran's minimum — conducted a virtual press conference and spoke about teaming up with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.
Jordan spent the first 10 seasons of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers, earning one All-Star nod (2017) and three All-NBA selections (including First Team in 2016). The 33-year old spent the last two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets after splitting his 2018-19 campaign between the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks.
Jordan averaged 9.4 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game on 67.3% shooting during his Clippers tenure and earned a four-year, $40 million contract with Brooklyn, thanks in part to his friendship with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. He started 43 games for the Nets in 2020-21 but was a DNP in the playoffs.
Earlier this month, Jordan was traded to the Detroit Pistons, who agreed to a buyout with the veteran big man. DeAndre Jordan will earn $2.6 million this season, about $1.6 million of which will be paid by the Lakers.
It's unclear precisely what Jordan's role will be for the Lakers, especially without knowing whether Marc Gasol will return and how often Anthony Davis will truly slide to the center spot (the five). Either way, DeAndre Jordan has long been one of the most popular players in the NBA, and his charismatic personality will undoubtedly be a plus in the Los Angeles locker room. The Lakers are attempting to recreate the Dwight Howard-JaVale McGee dynamic that helped them win a title in 2020.
As we've done with the Lakers' previous intro pressers this summer, here are the notable soundbites from the DeAndre Jordan press conference:
On fitting in with this Lakers team:
“I'm extremely excited … I think that my role for any team I'm on pretty much stays the same. I'm coming in to defend the basketball, try to change shots and alter shots at the rim, rebound the basketball, get my teammates open as best as possible, keep possessions alive for us, be a great force on both ends of the basketball floor, and be a great locker room guy. That's pretty much been my niche and my thing that I bring to every team that I'm on. I'm excited to get here and get to work with these guys.
“Being able to have multiple lob threats now again with this team is gonna be great, especially with the play-makers that we have and the unselfish guys that we have on this team, it's gonna be great… To be able to space the floor a little bit with guys playing in the dunker and having multiple playmakers and shooters spaced. I think at times we're gonna play big, I think at times we're going to play small. Obviously, whatever the game is needing at that moment in time — we're going to be able to adjust to that because we're so versatile.”
On playing with LeBron James and Russell Westbrook:
“For me, it's great. Those guys being able to have such speed and strength, being able to get downhill so quickly — it puts a lot of pressure on defenses. When you're a big playing in that dunker area you find where you'll be open — whether it's a shovel pass, whether its a lob — and those guys are so great at finding the open man and making the defenses pay for coverages and schemes that they may come up with.
“I just need to be ready to catch a basketball or catch a lob or screen in for a shooter. But, when you have that many threats on one team, I think that it's going to be very beneficial to us.”
On the opportunity to compete for a title with the Lakers after not winning one with the Clippers or Nets:
“I think the opportunity is the same. And the way I approach the game is the same … With the Clippers teams we had, we had some bad luck, on the team I was on last year we had a little back luck with injuries … But you never want to take it for granted, you want to come in and do everything you can to try to say as healthy as you possibly can and learn from the game before but not harp on it as much. Move onto the next thing. Because it is a long season, you gotta have a quick memory but be able to adjust as much as possible.
“I'm excited to … jell with these guys and build chemistry. It's gonna be a process, but I think we're all ready and excited for it.”
On moving from one title favorite to another:
“I think it's just basketball, man. When you have a lot of friends in this league, you have a lot of guys you compete against and when you're on the floor this is somebody that you want to beat, regardless if they're your friend or not. But off the floor, those relationships and those bonds will stay strong.
“I'm just excited to be a part of a team that's chasing a championship. … Just to be able to be with a team like this, with guys that you respect and guys you've competed against … going into my 14th season, has been great. ‘Oh, I wonder what it would be like to play with this guy,' — you always think about that, whether you tell people or not. And now to be able to have that opportunity, it's going to be great.”
DeAndre Jordan added that experiencing New York City culture for two years was “awesome,” and that while he “had a great time in Brooklyn,” he's “definitely excited to start this next chapter.”
As for departing the Nets with two years left on his deal, DeAndre Jordan said this:
“Both parties wanted to figure out something that was best for both of us … They gave me that respect as a veteran player… It just worked better for both of us. I'm excited to be a part of this Lakers franchise and this organization with this group of guys. I'm focused on here.”
DeAndre Jordan on which current Lakers he's thought about playing with from afar:
“As a big, when I was in high school, a guy that I watched all the time was Dwight Howard. We never had a chance to be teammates before, but I competed against him a ton when he was in Orlando and a couple other teams… Being able to see him and now we're teammates, is awesome.
“Obviously guys like LeBron and Russ and AD — being opponents of these guys for so long, especially Russ and AD in the Western Conference when we were there … seeing those guys three, four times a year. Russ coming downhill, angrily aggressive every time was very tough. … And knowing I don't have to contest him at the rim every night because he's that fierce of a competitor. He just keeps going.
“AD is the same way. His skill set is so very high and he can score on the three different planes of the basketball floor. With that, being able to be a great defender is great, so being able to have that next to you is awesome.
Welcome to the Show, @DeAndre pic.twitter.com/ftrKGo5rq2
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) September 9, 2021
“LeBron has been a winner in this league for a long time, being able to orchestrate offenses and defenses, being a team leader out there. Somebody who has been a leader and a winner throughout his career is great. And now being able to be a teammate of somebody with that high of a basketball IQ and an unselfish player like that — I'm really excited to finally be teammates with these guys.”
Finally, on what he expects from life in Los Angeles — this time as a member of the city's more popular NBA franchise
“I think I was treated pretty fairly and pretty good when I was a Clipper for 10 years. But obviously, this is a big sports town and a lot of the fans are Lakers fans. Even when I was with the Clippers, we understood that. But, I had great years when I was with the Clippers and that franchise was amazing to me and I appreciate the time that I was there, for sure.
“But I'm focused on now, and our team, and what our goals are, and what we want to do. I'm just really excited to be here. This is a great opportunity for me, and I just want to take full advantage of it.”