OAKLAND (CBS/AP) – The Golden State Warriors are making another run at a big man this offseason.
The Warriors signed Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on Sunday to a four-year offer sheet worth approximately $42.7 million. As a restricted free agent, the Clippers have three days to match the offer.
The team announced the signing. A person with knowledge of the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information, confirmed the terms of the deal.
The 6-foot-11 Jordan has emerged as an athletic and promising young center—however raw and unproven—in three years in Los Angeles. The 23-year-old averaged 7.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 25 minutes per game last season.
While his contract might seem large for a player of his caliber, the Warriors seem willing to spend with his potential.
“We’ve always known one of the key factors for this team to get better was to rebound, the ability to defend and block shots. That’s the main ingredient that we wanted to see, and there are actually three of them, and DeAndre has those,” Warriors general manager Larry Riley said. “Those things are important to us. We feel very strongly we will improve in those areas if we can attract a player of this nature, and he’s the kind of guy who can solve some of those issues.
“But we also know he’s not at this stage yet. He’s not an offensive player who’s going out and getting you 20 points every night or something like that. We’re realistic in what we have there. But he’s a young player who’s still developing skills, so there’s an upside associated with him as well.”
It is unknown whether the Clippers will match the offer. Jordan reportedly already received an offer from Los Angeles worth $40 million over five years, and the historically downtrodden Clippers — with NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin—are suddenly on the rise.
Before the start of training camp, Riley expected several players to be overpaid because of the lockout-shortened free agency period. He also said the Warriors could make an above-market offer to a free agent if that player fit the team’s short- and long-term plans.
“The main thing for us was to make a legitimate offer showing that we wanted him and put ourselves in the best position we thought we could,” Riley said. “But to be able to say that we’re going to have to make an offer that the Clippers cannot match, I don’t know that we were in a position to be able to do that. I will say that we evaluated that kind of thing.”
Golden State has craved a bigger, better center to team with its powerful backcourt duo.
The high-scoring Warriors, under new coach Mark Jackson, are making a push to become a more defensive-oriented team to compliment the undersized guard combo of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. While the franchise’s front-office reconstruction under new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber made splashes this summer, notably hiring executive Jerry West, the roster has remained almost a mirror image of the one that finished 36-46 last season and got coach Keith Smart fired.
The Warriors pursued Tyson Chandler unsuccessfully, watching the former Dallas center land with the New York Knicks. Free agent center Nene is expected to command a considerably higher contract than Jordan, and Golden State feels Jordan is the better value in a year with a shallow pool of talented free agent big men.
The Warriors put themselves in position to sign Jordan by waiving guard Charlie Bell earlier Sunday under the new amnesty provision, which allows teams a once-a-year-option to wipe a player’s remaining contract from the salary cap and avoid any luxury tax penalties.
They also rescinded a qualifying offer to forward Reggie Williams, waived popular guard Jeremy Lin and have yet to sign rookies Klay Thompson and Jeremy Tyler. Both rookies have been observing practice, and Riley said they likely won’t be signed until the Clippers decide whether to match Jordan’s offer.
Bell showed up intoxicated at a Thursday court date for a drunken driving arrest in Michigan, authorities said, and he never reported to training camp. He already is facing a one-game suspension without pay after pleading no contest to reckless driving in California, and his contributions—and contract—were considerably less than center Andris Biedrins, who had been another amnesty possibility.
The Warriors host the Clippers in the regular-season opener on Dec. 25.
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