Upon being traded to the New York Knicks near the deadline, many expected DeAndre Jordan to seek a buyout in the hopes of joining a more competitive team. Instead, he stayed in the Big Apple and transitioned more to the role of mentor.
Naturally, he gravitated to rookie center Mitchell Robinson, a player of similar size and athleticism in need of fine-tuning just as Jordan did as a rookie. DJ’s impact was evident, as Robinson would see an increase in points, rebounds and blocked shots following the blockbuster deal.
Jordan happily accepted his role with the Knicks, but that doesn’t guarantee a return. While they will try to keep him around, there’s been no indication the big man is willing to take a pay cut from the $22.9 million earned this past season to help New York maintain cap flexibility this summer.
After averaging 10.9 points and 11.4 rebounds in just under 26 minutes per game with the Knicks, he’ll likely be in pursuit of as much money as he can get for as many years as possible. The problem for Jordan is his style of play that doesn’t exactly bode well for the NBA in 2019.
Set to turn 31 towards the end of July, he’s relied heavily on his athleticism over the years to corral rebounds and score around the basket with a restricted offensive arsenal. DJ’s had trouble staying in front of perimeter players and only recently figured out how to consistently knock down free throws.
He’s a great teammate who can still provide what his skill-set allows. Even at his best — which has long passed him by — Jordan’s limited versatility reduces the ceiling of his respective team, making him the type of player no team should be seeking to command a heavy workload.