Friday, July 31, 2015

No superstar? No problem.


            Did we get Hamels? No.
Hmmmm, Price? Nope.
Gallardo? Not him either.
Cespedes? Not quite.
While the Dodgers may not have reeled in the superstar they were expected to this trade deadline, LA did manage to make some solid pickups for their second-half, and probable postseason push.
On Thursday Los Angeles found themselves in the midst of a three-team deal which shuffled a total of 13 players and prospects to different destinations. In the sandstorm of a trade-negotiation, the Dodgers gave up reliever Paco Rodriguez and three minor league prospects for several positive additions to their pitching rotation and bullpen.
Through this deal the Dodgers acquired two very adequate and promising starting pitchers in Mat Latos (Miami) and Alex Wood (Braves). The Dodgers also picked up some much-needed relief pitching with the addition of Braves pitchers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan. An injured Bronson Arroyo was also thrown in the mix for LA, but with the veteran pitcher currently recovering from a Tommy John injury, who knows how much, if any, help he will be to the club returning this September.
When you have Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke spearheading your pitching rotation, you understand it can’t get much better. However, with the addition of Latos and Wood, the LA rotation is only solidified and strengthened for the postseason run the Dodgers hope to make this October.
Wood, at age 24, is already a proven starting pitcher in the majors. His career 3.10 ERA over three seasons with Atlanta is a testament to the upside he brings to LA’s rotation. This season Wood has gone 7-6, with a 3.54 ERA in 20 starts for the Braves. Things could get scary for opposing lineups should Wood come into a zone this second-half. Kershaw, Greinke, and a developing Wood would be a deadly rotation in any postseason match up.
I’d slip Mat Latos right in as the number-four starter for the Dodgers rotation. While Latos has been far from stellar this year, bearing a 4-7 record with an undesirably high 4.48 ERA, he has shown shades of excellence in previous seasons. As a 22-year-old, Latos finished eighth in the NL Cy Young Award voting; he won 14 games with a 2.92 ERA on a Padres team which virtually provided no run-support. In 2013, Latos posted a 3.16 ERA and was a 14-game winner for the Cincinnati Reds. While Latos won’t garner nearly as much attention as a Greinke or Kershaw, he will be a valuable asset to the Dodgers pitching staff.
Johnson and Avilan are much-needed additions to a highly-questionable Dodgers bullpen this season. The Dodgers bullpen ERA (3.87) ranks 23rd in all of Major League Baseball. Needless to say Johnson (2.25 ERA this season) and Avilan (1.52 ERA in 2012, career 2.77 ERA) stand as positive acquisitions for an erratic bullpen. Johnson, a former All-Star, has been especially effective as of late, maintaining a 1.82 ERA over his last 30 games of work.
First baseman Michael Morse was also shipped to LA from the Marlins in Thursday’s deal. Morse’s time in LA was short-lived, as the Dodgers shipped the veteran first-baseman to the Pirates with some cash in exchange for outfielder Jose Tabata. Expect Tabata to be nothing more than a spot-starter in what is a star-studded and already crowded Dodgers outfield.
Dodger fans shouldn’t fret over the absence of a superstar pickup this past week. Sure, we didn’t go all in like Toronto and pick up two of the biggest names in the game (Tulo and Price), but we sure did pick up some positive pieces that will be vital in the looming playoff push.
After their 5-3 victory over the Angels Friday night, LA is currently edging the Giants by 1.5 games for the NL West crown. These midseason pick-ups will only help LA fend off the Giants in what is going to be a thrilling divisional race in the west.
            I loved seeing the Dodgers go out and get some help on the mound, especially in the ‘pen. Keep in mind that the Dodgers’ last four postseason runs (2008, ‘09, ‘13 & ‘14) have come to a halt thanks highly in part to poor relief work on the mound. While Avilan and Johnson will already boost the bullpen’s strength, I hope to see the organization make some post-deadline transactions to further bolster relief-pitching personnel.
            While the Dodgers didn’t have a Hollywood-style trade deadline, the subtle, yet effective moves may lead to a Hollywood-style celebration in October.   

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ya-see-ya-later Puig?


          It’s hard to believe that we are now two years removed from the “summer of Puig” phenomena. Since his major league call up in June of 2013, Puig has garnered the national spot light with both his on-and-off the field antics. Puig promptly dazzled the national baseball spectrum with his cannon of a right arm, sizzling bat and charming naivety that summer. Puig’s energy was infectious on his Dodger teammates, as the team would reap great success shortly after his arrival to the big leagues. Over the course of 48 games shortly following Puig’s addition, the Dodgers went 40-8, and quickly assumed the role of top contender for the National League pennant.
While Puig was erratic at times with his behavior and on-field execution (i.e. missing the cut-off man), Dodgers nation certainly looked past his rookie mistakes and relished in the show that was the 22-year-old-Phenom. Puig finished his rookie campaign with a .319 average, hitting 19 home runs and driving in 42 runs over 104 games. Puig would be runner-up for the NL Rookie of the Year award, trailing only Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, who went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA during his rookie season.
In just his first year of major league action, the city of Los Angeles embraced their Cuban superstar. The Dodgers front office and fan base had found their franchise cornerstone for the years to come, or had they?
Since his breakout season, the “Cuban missile” has lost some velocity. While Puig was selected as an NL All-Star in his sophomore season, his average would stoop below the .300 mark. Puig’s power production would diminish as well. Puig would hit only 16 home runs and drive in 69 RBI in over his entire 2014 regular season.
While it wasn’t necessarily a disappointing second year for Puig, he did fail to meet the superstar expectations that the baseball world placed on him after his standout rookie campaign. Heading into that season, Puig bore an almost MVP-or-bust mentality in evaluating his performance.
            The decline of Puig’s production has continued till this point in the season. This campaign has been an injury-riddled one for Puig, as a result he has only suited up for 48 games this season. And in those games, Puig has mounted a very mediocre .265 average, with only five home runs and 19 RBI’s to his credit.
As hard as it is for me to say this, as both a Dodger fan and Puig supporter, the guy seems like a bit of a liability right now.
            I understand that he’s only 24-years-old, with plenty of upside still for the remainder of his career. I also understand that everyone is bound to have an injury-ridden season or two over the course of their career. But what I just can’t grasp is Puig’s lack of development as a teammate and common sense outfielder.
What used to be a “cute mistake” in air-mailing a ball over the cut-off man is now just plain annoying. Making simple mental errors like that is bad enough in the regular season, but do that in October and let a baserunner advance an extra base… we could be talking about staying alive in a series, or being eliminated from the postseason.
Despite being in his third season of MLB action, Puig still has the audacity to continually banter with his teammates and cause distress within the clubhouse. On several occasions, Puig has also been known to arrive late to the ball park on game day. Showing up late to games is something you leave to little leaguers being escorted in a Dodge Caravan; it shouldn’t be an issue for a professional athlete with plenty of travel assets.
            Despite dropping their most recent series against Milwaukee, the Dodgers (54-42) are in a very formidable position for it being only July. LA finds themselves in the driver’s seat in the NL West, three games ahead of the Giants. The Dodgers also find themselves atop or near the top of almost every published MLB Power Ranking released by ESPN.
With the postseason looking like a real possibility for the boys in blue, LA should be looking to make some moves by the July 31 trade deadline. Puig could prove to be a very valuable bargaining chip in prospective trade negotiations.
            While Dodgers management and personnel may be fed up with Puig’s antics and lack of production, plenty of MLB franchises would love nothing more than to add the 24-year-old slugger to their roster.
            The Dodgers are in desperate need of another solid starting pitcher, it’s no secret. With Puig in their back pocket, LA can chase some of the biggest options available on the mound during this deadline-negotiation period.
            There are rumors that Puig could end up in either a Mets or Phillies uniform come August 1, in exchange for some top-tier hurlers.
Just imagine a scenario in which the Dodgers picked up Mets superstar pitcher Matt Harvey, while giving up Puig in a trade. Can you imagine going into a playoff series with Kershaw, Greinke, and Harvey spearheading your rotation? Yikes. Nothing I’d love to see more than the “Dark Knight” (as Harvey has been dubbed) trotting out to the mound in a postseason match up.
If the Dodgers were to ship Puig to the “City of Brotherly Love”, they could acquire the services of veteran lefty Cole Hamels. While Hamels isn’t having a prolific Cy Young-caliber season on the mound, he brings stellar postseason experience which is invaluable to any team contending for the Commissioner’s trophy.  
In the case that Puig isn’t of enough value to reel in either Hamels or Harvey, the Dodgers should seek out some reliable arms for the bullpen. Dodgers fans have become accustomed to late-game, postseason heartbreak over the past several seasons. This is thanks largely in part to a traditionally-faulty bullpen that never fails to let down a championship-hungry fan base.
And don’t fret about the idea of losing Puig in the short-term. While in the long-run Puig may very well go on to have a hall-of-fame career and make me eat me words, he could also continue his descent into mediocrity. For the short-term, we can depend on our upward-trending centerfielder Joc Pederson and the resurrected Andre Ethier, who is undergoing quite the bounce back season for LA.
It’s hard to think that a rebuilding franchise would completely oppose the idea of negotiating for Puig’s services. While he does come with some off-the-field baggage and mental lapses, he can provide that “lightning in a bottle” to any major league lineup.

Can LA use their Cuban bargaining chip to get them back to the ‘ship?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mike Trout: The face of Major League Baseball


         Hitting out of the leadoff spot in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game, Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout found his way into yet another major league record book. Trout blasted a 1-2 offering from Dodgers’ ace Zach Greinke into the right field seats, becoming only the fourth player in MLB history to lead off an All-Star Game with a home run. Trout is the first player to accomplish the feat since former Royals outfielder Bo Jackson led off the 1989 mid-summer classic with a home run. Trout would finish the night 1-for-3 at the plate, with a walk, RBI and two runs scored. Trout’s efforts would be rewarded, as he was named the All-Star Game MVP for the second consecutive season. Trout is only the fifth player to ever win multiple All-Star Game MVP awards (others are Willie Mays, Cal Ripken Jr., Steve Garvey, and Gary Carter... some pretty good company). However, he is the first player in MLB history to win the honor in consecutive years … Did I mention he’s only 23-years-old?
            The Los Angeles Angels selected Millville Senior High School outfielder Mike Trout with the 25th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. As a 17-year-old in the Angels farm system, Trout hit .352 as a member of the Angels’ Class-A rookie ball affiliate. Needless to say, Trout blazed through the minors and made his Major League debut for the Angels at age 19.
            Since winning AL Rookie of the Year in 2012, Trout has only racked up more and more accolades, achieving superstar status thus far in the Majors. In his five seasons as a big leaguer, Trout has brought home three Silver Slugger awards, an AL MVP trophy and four All-Star Game appearances. With his homerun against the Houston Astros on April 17, Trout became the youngest player in major league history to hit 100 home runs and steal 100 bases in a career.
            With his upside through the roof, Trout is the undisputed leader of baseball’s new generation. Trout’s youth is just scary. Still considered years away from his “prime” (age 26-31) by many, who knows what feats and records Trout will crush before he even celebrates his 25th birthday. With plenty of accolades and milestones ahead of him, Trout is about as sure a Cooperstown-lock you will find in a 23-year-old (barring some tragic injury… Hey, I had to say it).
Recognizing this, the Angels were wise to lock up their franchise cornerstone on a six-year, $144.5 million dollar contract extension signed in March of 2014. The contract keeps Trout in Los Angeles through the 2019-2020 regular season. Trout will have the chance to enter free agency at age 29, and if you thought that Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million dollar contract was absurd money, hold your breath. Who knows what type of player Trout will have blossomed into by 2020… and who knows how much cash MLB franchises will be willing to dish out to make Trout the face of their franchise.
In last year’s All-Star Game in Minnesota, Major League Baseball said farewell to “The Captain” Derek Jeter. Jeter, a baseball icon and soon-to-be first ballot Hall of Famer, was the long-standing face of Major League Baseball. It is fitting that one year later, Trout finds himself succeeding Jeter as the most notable figure in all of baseball. Trout is a household-name, carries himself well both on and off the field, and as many analysts will tell you, he just respects and “plays the game right”.
So, to the cynical baseball fan who is sick of seeing Mike Trout’s face plastered all over the place, get used to it. Trout’s got plenty more All-Star Games to dominate, home runs to hit, diving catches to make and Chevrolet trucks to win.

The New Jersey native is Major League Baseball’s new face. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

The UFC's best weekend yet?

The UFC may have very well just reaped the most successful weekend in its 22-year history. From Friday through Sunday of this past week, the events surrounding UFC 189 peaked in popularity, crushing nearly every pre-existing record that the UFC held for its previous promotions. From ticket sales to pay-per-view purchases to mass social media traffic, the UFC reached new frontiers of triumph this past weekend as an organization.
Originally, the UFC 189 promotion paired UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo (25-1) against contender Conor McGregor (18-2) for the title belt. From the start, the promotion seemed like a dream come true for UFC President Dana White. The brash, trash-talking McGregor was set to challenge the soft-spoken, yet ferocious, champion Aldo for the belt. White and the UFC took advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime title fight, launching a massive promotional tour for the event. World tours, a docu-series on both fighters and a flat-out impressive and aesthetic commercial campaign hyped UFC 189 as one for the ages.
Then, the tides shifted when Aldo suffered a rib injury in training for his title defense. Aldo was cleared medically to compete at UFC 189 and many members of the media were convinced that he would defend his title on July 11. However, much to the dismay of McGregor, White and MMA fans worldwide, Aldo pulled out of the main event two weeks prior to the scheduled event. Aldo has since received criticism from McGregor, White and several MMA analysts in the media since making his decision to pull out of the fight.
As a result of the Aldo fallout, Chad “Money” Mendes (17-3) stepped into the main event to battle McGregor, this time for the interim UFC featherweight title belt. Despite the new opponent, McGregor didn’t miss a beat in hyping up this fight, calling Aldo a “scared man running” and promising to “tear off” Mendes’ head in their upcoming bout.
From the fan turnout at the Friday weigh-ins preluding UFC 189, the UFC knew that this event was going to be a whole other animal in terms of revenue and output. The UFC 189 weigh-in garnered 11,500 fans in attendance, with several hundred more fans turned away at the door due to overcrowding and safety regulations for the MGM Grand Garden Arena. This mark crushed the previous UFC record for weigh-in attendance, which was 8,000 in 2012 at UFC 148 which pitted Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen against each other in a rematch for the middleweight championship.
While the weigh-in featured the cliché fighter stand-off, in which White had to restrain McGregor and Mendes, another headline would develop beside the massive attendance turnout. McGregor and UFC bantamweight Uriah Faber engaged in a minor altercation back stage during the weigh-in. While the altercation was nothing more than a mere push and shove, it was a testament to the showman that McGregor is. Boy, can that guy rack up headlines and make news or what?
Once the actual UFC 189 promotion came and went Saturday evening, fight fans around the world could collectively agree that the main card lived up to the hype.  Even aside from the main and co-main events on the fight card, the night was stacked with solid fights and dazzling finishes. Both bantamweight Thomas Almeida (20-0) and featherweight Jeremy Stephens (24-11) would finish their opponents with devastating flying knee knockouts Saturday night. The prelims also included a highlight-reel finish as welterweight Matt Brown (20-13) submitted Tim Means (24-7-1) in the first round via a guillotine choke.
The co-main event of the evening, between welterweight champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and contender Rory MacDonald, would go on to receive Fight of the Night honors and is  considered by many an ‘instant classic’. Lawler would finish MacDonald in the fifth round with a straight jab, breaking the nose of MacDonald, before finishing the fight on the ground with fists. The fight was a bloodbath throughout, with neither fighter giving in, but Lawler would defend his title in dramatic knockout fashion.
In the main event, McGregor would realize his dream of UFC gold, winning the interim featherweight title via knockout in the second round of his bout against Mendes. The win only sets up even more prospective profit for the UFC when Aldo and McGregor square off in a unification bout for the outright UFC featherweight title.
Aside from the outstanding fights on the night, the UFC presented itself as a very renovated and remodeled brand. Fighters and their coaching staffs no longer sported sponsors, but instead all UFC fighters and personnel wore Reebok gear from head to toe. In the main event fight, both McGregor and Mendes walked to the ring with live performance music playing behind them. Visually, and with good results, the UFC brand looked noticeably altered Saturday in almost every aspect of its presentation.
If fight fans were left hungry for more MMA after Saturday night’s spectacle, they would not have to wait long as the UFC presented a Fight Night on Sunday evening. The UFC Fight Night was headlined by welterweight veterans in Jake Ellenberger (30-10) and Stephen Thompson (11-1) squaring off. Additionally, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) finale fight took place as a part of the evening’s main card.
The TUF finale featured American Top Team’s welterweight Hayder Hassan (6-2) against the Blackzillains’ Kamaru Usman (6-1). Usman would submit Hassan via an arm triangle choke in the second round; thus winning his own custom-made Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, the TUF team trophy, and the $300,000 cash prize for the Blackzillians.
Thompson would knock out Ellenberger in devastating fashion with a spinning right heel kick to the forehead, ending the fight in the very first round. Thompson now emerges from the fight as a premier contender in the welterweight division.
The UFC’s gem of a weekend is not only one of the finest in the organization’s history, but in the history of Mixed Martial Arts as a sport. With viewership through the roof this past weekend, one can only expect the UFC to grow exponentially in popularity throughout the nation.

Can you even begin to fathom the revenue storm that this Aldo-McGregor fight will spark once it comes around? Yikes.

Monday, July 6, 2015

And the Lakers get on the board this offseason

     Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Jordan Hill… 
     All of the players mentioned above have led the Lakers in scoring for at least one regular season. And if the final two players listed seem out of place, they should. “Swaggy P” and Jordan Hill cracking this list of illustrious Laker legends is a testament to the downward spiral LA currently finds itself in.
    Over the past two regular seasons, Los Angeles has: compiled a tumultuous 48-116 record, (obviously) failed to make the playoffs, and on a consistent-basis put out a starting lineup comprised of D-Leaguers, run-down veterans and no-name players within the professional basketball circle. “Tanking” has become a routine practice for one of the NBA’s most storied franchises, the Draft Lottery is common territory, and more than ever before the Lakers organization finds itself plastered with a big, fat “REBUILDING” label. The glorious championship banners which hang from the rafters of the Staples Center seem so distant now. Lakers nation finds itself asking, “Why does 2010 feel so long ago?”
      Needless to say, the Lakers find themselves in a state of turmoil, desperate for a turnaround. There is a heap of work to be done not only for the immediate future, but also for the distant one, considering that Kobe Bryant has publicly announced 2016 will be his final season as a Laker.
       Lakers team president Jeanie Buss has made it known that her brother, president of basketball operations Jim Buss, will resign should the Lakers not make a deep postseason run (Conference Finals) by the 2016-2017 season. Well, the clock’s ticking Jim, you’ve got some major work to do.
         Last week, the Lakers selected D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. There was some questioning about LA’s decision to go with the Ohio State guard instead of selecting Duke center Jahlil Okafor, who showed great interest in joining the Lakers. However, Russell’s tremendous upside and superstar potential rationalize Los Angeles’ decision to select him with the second pick.
       After falling short in both the LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes this past week, Los Angeles has been active in their offseason pursuits. Over the past 48 hours the Lakers have made several additions to their roster via free agency and the trading market.
       The Lakers signed power forward Brandon Bass from the Celtics, and former-Raptors guard Lou Williams on Sunday. While the Lakers are close to finalizing a deal with Bass, the team has already signed Williams, the 2015 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner, to a three-year, $21 million dollar contract. Bass brings a veteran presence to Los Angeles’ front court and can serve as a mentor to Julius Randle, the Lakers’ first-round draft selection of a year ago whose rookie campaign was cut short due to injury. While Williams has been evaluated as a defensive liability, he will serve as an excellent offensive asset for the Lakers. Whether Williams is a starter or is assigned a bench role, he will provide an offensive spark for the Lakers in seasons to come.
       On Saturday, LA also acquired center Roy Hibbert courtesy of a trade with the Indiana Pacers. The trade is currently in the finalization stages and Hibbert is expected to officially be a Laker by the end of the approaching week. Hibbert, 28, is a two-time All-Star (2012, 2014) who has displayed flashes of success throughout his career.
        In the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, Hibbert had a breakout series against Miami in which the Pacers pushed the defending-champion Heat to seven games. In that series, Hibbert was a force, averaging 22.1 points per game (PPG) and 10.4 rebounds per contest (RPG). The Lakers are hopeful that Hibbert’s output can mimic these numbers, and not this past season’s statistics, in which he averaged 10.6 PPG and 7.1 RPG while shooting 44.6% from the field.
      While Laker activity has been high as of late this offseason, the front office realizes that these acquisitions are but baby steps on the road to rebuilding the storied franchise. Coming off of the worst regular season in franchise history (21-61 record), Los Angeles needs to think about .500 before harboring any thought of a playoff berth, especially in the killer Western Conference.

        Good luck Jim, your sister’s got the two-year leash on you. Time’s a wasting. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Dallas finds its ‘Lone Star’ in Jordan


     Over the Clippers’ 2015 playoff campaign, center DeAndre Jordan solidified himself as one of the league’s premier big men, averaging 13.1 points per contest and reeling in 13.3 boards per game. Defensively in the postseason, Jordan was a force down low, consistently shutting down his assignment from series to series, while blocking 2.4 shots per game.
     In their historic Western Conference Semifinals collapse, Los Angeles blew a 3-1 series lead over the Houston Rockets, once again failing to advance further than the second round of playoff competition. In their game 7 match up against Houston, Jordan tallied: 16 points, 17 rebounds, four steals and three blocks. And as the final buzzer sounded, ending the Clippers season, Jordan found himself entering the summer as one of the hottest free agent options available to NBA franchises.
     Jordan is coming off of a regular season in which he led the NBA in rebounds for the second consecutive season, averaging 15 per contest. While Jordan is a liability (to say the least) at the free throw line, shooting 39.7% from the stripe in 2015, he has developed a very fluid offensive attack over the years. Jordan put his offensive efficiency on display this past season, leading the NBA in field goal percentage at 71%. Jordan’s season was highlighted with a selection to the All-NBA first team defense and All-NBA third team. Jordan’s breakout performance in his contract year made him one of the most sought-after talents in this year’s free agency period. The Clippers attempted to re-sign their big man of the past seven seasons, while other teams such as the Knicks, Lakers and Mavericks pursued the six-foot-11, 265 pound center.
     On Friday July 3, the Dallas Mavericks inked Jordan to a four-year maximum contract worth more than $80 million dollars. The contract also features a third-year player option which would give Jordan the ability to return into the free agency market in 2018.
     Considering Jordan’s background, the decision to sign with Dallas made sense. Born in Houston and having attended high school in Humble, Texas gave Dallas that “home-factor” to Jordan. Jordan also played collegiately at Texas A&M for one season, winning All-Big 12 honors before declaring for the NBA Draft.
     Dallas also collectively put forth a strong recruiting campaign for Jordan’s services. Mavericks players Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons met with Jordan in Los Angeles to pitch the idea signing with their franchise; meanwhile owner Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle took the free agent out to dinner to promote their team. Rather unexpectedly, the Mavericks were not the only professional sports franchise seeking Jordan’s landing in Dallas. Dallas Cowboys All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant and owner Jerry Jones pleaded Mavs fans to lobby for the signing of Jordan on social media. In the end, Dallas’ efforts were rewarded with the Mavs’ signing of basketball’s best rebounder.
     Jordan finds himself joining a Mavericks team which finished the regular season with a record of 50-32, which clinched the seventh seed in the Western Conference Playoff bracket. In the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs however, the Mavs were promptly eliminated by their Texan-rivals, the Houston Rockets (4-1).
     Upon joining the team, Jordan can expect to quickly accelerate to superstar profile in Dallas. With Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki now sitting at age 37, and the loss of stars like Tyson Chandler and Monte Ellis to free agency, Jordan very likely will be observed as the most valuable player for Dallas in the seasons to come. The move comes at a perfect time for Dallas as Jordan, age 26, is just entering the prime of his NBA career age-wise.
     This scenario of leading Dallas is one unique to Jordan, who often resided in the shadow of his Lob-city teammates, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, during his time in Los Angeles. Jordan now has an opportunity to shine as the “Lone Star” in Dallas and help lead the Mavericks to prominence in the Western Conference and possibly another NBA Championship.
     With the acquisition, Dallas receives an All-Star, All-Pro caliber presence in the paint. Jordan’s rebounding and defensive abilities will be vital to the Mavs, as they ranked a meager 23rd in team rebounding (42.3 RPG) and 25th in points per game allowed (102.3 PPG) last season.
       As Dallas celebrates their signing of “DJ”, Clipper nation now finds themselves in the midst of many question marks. In failing to re-sign Jordan, the Clippers now have no centers left on their roster. While Blake Griffin now stands as the tallest member of the Clippers, he is by no means equipped to play the position. And with the acquisition of small forward Paul Pierce Wednesday, via a three-year/$10.6 million dollar contract, Los Angeles now has no cap space to pick up a viable option at center in free agency. The Clippers put all their eggs in the “DeAndre Jordan basket”, and that basket has spilled mightily.