Original Post on Forbes.com
By this time tomorrow chances are that Los Angeles Clippers star center, DeAndre Jordan, will re-sign with the team. After announcing publicly he would sign with the Dallas Mavericks, he has had second thoughts. An emergency rescue mission headed by Owner Steve Ballmer, Head Coach Doc Rivers and All-Stars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, flew to Houston to press their case. Convincing a player to reverse a free agent decision is novel, although it happened with Frank Gore earlier this year in the NFL. An oral commitment in sports is virtually always the same as a signed contract.
The first day to officially sign a player is Thursday and this gap has created an opportunity for the Clippers. They realized that their prior presentation had not really spoken to Jordan's concerns. Head Coach, Doc Rivers, has been heavily criticized in Los Angeles for letting Jordan escape. Jordan has turned into the best defensive center in the League and has become a major star after taking some years to develop. Failing to realize his new status, and treating him as if he were still a developmental second rounder was a mistake. The Clippers have now dramatically adjusted their approach.
Jordan has major concerns that the Clippers will not be able to afford him, Paul and Griffin, and that the future is murky. He fears Griffin will be traded and he will be stuck on a team with little chance to win a championship. The Clipper brain trust is addressing those concerns. Jordan has bristled at what he perceives as frequent criticism from Chris Paul, and that Paul lacks respect for him. Paul was on vacation for the first meeting, but he is in Houston pitching now and is addressing their relationship face to face.
Guard J.J. Redick, blasted the Clippers for blowing the signing and is passionate about the value that Jordan represents. He is part of the contingent.
Facing a roomful of players begging him to return is a hard pitch to turn down. It creates an emotional environment, making him realize that he is part of a family. Having a coach and an owner tell him how critical he is and how much they value him is what was needed in the first place. Jordan averaged 15 rebounds a game, blocked shots with reckless abandon and scored 11.5 points per game last year. Jordan doesn't want to be a permanent third wheel, with a lack of respect in the Clippers star troika. He has a normally healthy ego and aspiration for recognition.
The Clippers melted down in their playoff series several months ago. This was demoralizing to Jordan. Having all the key decision makers explaining to him why the future will be different is key. A successful selling presentation to a player necessitates understanding his true concerns and addresses them directly. It also means describing a future of happiness and fulfillment. The Clippers suffered a collective shock when confronted with the departure of Jordan. Instead of licking their wounds, they have shown resilience and creativity. They are bringing their prodigal son home.