Emojis, Barricaded Doors, and Change of Hearts: An NBA Free Agency Debacle

NBA free agency got started last night, and we’ve already had a flurry of activity.

Bradley Beal signed a deal worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars to stay with the Washington Wizards.

The Nuggets kept their two-time MVP Nikola Jokic to the tune of five years and $264 million, the biggest contract in NBA history.

Kevin Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, and the NBA imploded.

But none of that is as fascinating as the time the Los Angeles Clippers, in an attempt to get center DeAndre Jordan to re-sign with the team, locked the big man in his own house like a child who was trying to sneak out to the mall.

Here’s how it went down.

Back in 2015, DeAndre Jordan was one of the more coveted centers in the league. Alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, “Lob City” entertained the L.A. crowds night after night with fast-paced, high-flying basketball.

When free agency came around, Jordan verbally agreed to a four-year, $80 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks.

But the Clippers weren’t going to go quietly. Led by a team of Griffin, J.J. Redick, head coach Doc Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer, the team flew to Jordan’s home in Houston to persuade him to change his mind.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks were in pursuit, too. And that’s when the emojis began.

This roundup from USA Today is pretty fantastic. Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons tweeted a plane emoji, then Redick followed with a car emoji and Griffin with a plane, helicopter, and car emoji.

Several more emojis followed, but there are two notable entries worth calling out.

Chris Paul, who had recently gone viral for this picture of him, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Gabrielle Union on a banana boat, simply tweeted a banana emoji followed by a boat emoji.

And Paul Pierce, perhaps confused by everything going on, tweeted a picture of the rocket emoji instead of the emoji itself.

Once everyone arrived, the Clippers got to work…and that meant locking Jordan up.

Yes, Blake Griffin literally shared a picture of a barricaded door.

That’s wild stuff. The Clippers did all this to prevent Mavericks owner Mark Cuban from being able to contact Jordan until he could sign a contract with the Clippers.

Jordan said what actually went on behind closed (or barricaded) doors was less exciting than it appeared. Talking to GQ, Jordan said (via Essentially Sports):

Not much was going on. People took naps. We ate. We watched TV. It wasn’t exciting at all. It was boring. I couldn’t wait for Doc [Rivers] and Ballmer to leave my house, so I could enjoy some alone time. I mean my bosses were at my house all day. It’s hard to have fun with your friends with your bosses around.

In the end, Jordan had a change of heart and re-signed with the Clippers. And he eventually joined the Mavericks later in his career anyway. So…all is forgiven?

At least Jordan still has a good sense of humor about everything.

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