The New York Knicks are potentially prepared to lose center DeAndre Jordan in free agency, with the Los Angeles Lakers as an interested option.
Among the New York Knicks’ free agents, DeAndre Jordan is the highest-profile player of the bunch. His $22.6 million clears the books and will contribute to the team’s offseason spending, whether for a superstar or depth to fill out the 15-man roster.
That could mean the brief relationship between Jordan and the Knicks is over, with outside interest factoring into what happens.
"“The Lakers, I think, are sniffing around (Lopez),” said Brian Windhorst. “I think the Lakers need perimeter players. I think they’re going to have to use their money on perimeter players. I know DeAndre Jordan is a guy on the Lakers’ radar that they’re hoping they may able to get for relatively cheap because he wants to be back in L.A.”"
The Lakers already expressed interest in Jordan during the regular season, before the March 1 buyout deadline. He never sought out of the Knicks and stayed through the final game, despite head coach David Fizdale benching him for younger players.
Jordan only left Los Angeles after the 2017-18 season, where he played with the Clippers from 2008 until that last year. Success was found playing with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but that trio never crossed the second round of the playoffs.
With the Lakers, Jordan can join LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and whoever arrives from the free agent market. The top of the Western Conference is wide open, so this team has a path to prominence, clearer and superior to a potential return to the Knicks.
When the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving rumors were more realistic, Jordan coming back for a full season made sense. He could take a cheaper contract to provide center depth, splitting time with the player he worked with upon arrival, Mitchell Robinson.
Irving’s ties to the Nets have grown since the playoffs ended, though, and Durant’s injury reshaped a once-exciting free agency’s look. If neither becomes a Knick, and Jordan wants to compete in his age-31 season, playing the 2019-20 season elsewhere is the potential call.
Maybe the Knicks offer enough money from their $70 million in cap space to make the 11-year veteran return, but not for anything longer than one year. Plus, he would take time from Robinson, who is positioned to start at center, given the roster’s current construction.
The New York Knicks can find center depth elsewhere, and for cheaper. If not Jordan, there are options in free agency while he walks to a contender.