New York Knicks: DeAndre Jordan reacts to late-season benching

New York Knicks DeAndre Jordan (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
New York Knicks DeAndre Jordan (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

DeAndre Jordan is out of the New York Knicks rotation, and with just four games left, the former All-Star reacted to head coach David Fizdale’s decision.

When the New York Knicks acquired DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews in the January Kristaps Porzingis trade, it seemed inevitable for both veterans on expiring contracts to receive their early departure. Matthews was waived after the trade deadline, but Jordan opted to stay and mentor Mitchell Robinson.

However, like Knicks veterans before him, Jordan moved out of the rotation, as of the March 30 game against the Miami Heat. Robinson replaced him in the starting lineup, and Luke Kornet received an increase in playing time.

This is a unique role for Jordan, who spent years on winning team with the Los Angeles Clippers and always started, and it frustrated him. Per Marc Berman of the New York Post, the veteran center addressed head coach David Fizdale’s decision, but said it was mutual after some words:

"“This is very strange for me,’’ Jordan said in a rare interview. “I’ve never done this before. I love to compete. It sucks not being out there. At the same time, I know the development of these guys is very important. That’s something that I’m down for.”“We had a few conversations,’’ Jordan said. “There was definitely some back and forth. He knows how much I love to play and how much I want to compete. We came to the decision together, everybody thought it was best for the young guys.’’"

Jordan also praised what Fizdale brings to the Knicks, and he’s not the first player to do so: 

"“I love it here,’’ Jordan said. “I love what Fiz is doing here. Obviously there’s a lot of things that these guys want to do to get better, to better the organization. We’ll see what happens.’’"

With the offseason ahead, Jordan was also asked of his future in New York, and he said, “I’ll be in board shorts probably,” Berman added. the 30 year old’s $22.8 million salary will leave the books when the season ends and make him a free agent for the second straight offseason.

The prospect of Jordan returning is interesting, but on a team that has $70 million to spend on some of the NBA’s highest profile free agents, he’d have to take a significant discount. Plus, Robinson is the Knicks’ future at center.

While not the prolific, athletic player as he was in Los Angeles, Jordan still averaged 11.0 points, 13.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game between the Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks. That’s still enough to start somewhere, whether on the Lakers, Golden State Warriors or another team that will have a center opening this summer.

Maybe Jordan returns and chooses a reserve role, which is something he has not done since the 2010-11 campaign, not counting these missed games via coach’s decision. If the Knicks sign marquee free agents, will that mean enough for him to stay?

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Little time remains, though, for Jordan to sit the bench and watch the New York Knicks play. When it ends, it clouds not only his future but most of this roster as changes lie ahead for the 2019-20 season.