The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly "sniffing around" a potential deal for Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.
Jordan, 29, could become an interesting trade piece as the Clippers fall further from playoff contention. They are 11-18 and losers of three straight, ranking in the bottom half of the league in points scored and allowed. Injuries have been a major factor in those struggles, but the Clippers are on a downward trajectory after trading Chris Paul.
Jordan is the likeliest Clippers difference-maker to be moved. He can become a free agent this summer and will likely command a salary that will pay him at least $30 million per season. While he remains a good rebounder and finisher near the rim, Jordan has not been as strong defensively this season and clearly misses Paul.
Paying for his age 30-35 seasons could also become a disaster. Players who are reliant on athleticism typically regress at a far faster rate than those who have more well-rounded skill sets.
The Clippers' best-case scenario if they re-sign Jordan would be for him to play at Dwight Howard's level over the next few years. Howard is a solid player but is also languishing on a bad team in Charlotte and nowhere near worth his $23.5 million salary.
The Cavaliers could acquire Jordan and hope his dominance inside would give them an advantage against the Golden State Warriors in a potential Finals rematch. Cleveland's winning strategy against Golden State two years ago was to slow down the game, win on rebounds and have LeBron James take over. James is playing arguably the best basketball of his career, so adding Jordan might give them enough of a rebounding edge to make it a series.
The question is whether the Cavs would be willing to part with the Brooklyn Nets' first-round pick in Jordan trade talks. The Clippers won't pick up the phone otherwise.