Richard Jefferson, a 14-year NBA veteran, has reportedly broken off his agreement with the Dallas Mavericks to sign a one-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Mark Stein of ESPN.
Another curveball in Mavs’ offseason: Hearing that vet swingman Richard Jefferson, thought to be staying in Dallas, now signing with Cavs
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 21, 2015
Jefferson, 35, spent last season with the Mavericks, occupying a bench role for the team. Through 74 games (18 starts) in Dallas, Jefferson posted below-average numbers of 5.8 PPG and 2.5 RPG through just 16.8 MPG. Those totals were the lowest in his career for a season in which he played more than 57 games.
At one point, Jefferson was one of the more dynamic players in the game. His peak came during his 7-year stint with the New Jersey Nets. Helping lead the Nets to make two NBA Finals appearances, Jefferson always averaged nearly 20 PPG and six RPG. His ability to score from the perimeter and in the post made him a dangerous player.
After leaving the Nets, Jefferson had stints with the Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, and Utah Jazz.
The Mavericks wanted Jefferson back, despite his career low production. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported earlier this month that the swingman would return to Dallas on a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum.
Free agent Richard Jefferson will receive a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal from the Mavs, sources tell Yahoo.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 3, 2015
But the former longtime Net apparently changed his mind at the last minute and will now likely serve the same role for a near-guaranteed contender in the Cavaliers. Having re-signed LeBron James and Kevin Love, with a Tristan Thompson return likely, the Cavaliers will look to return to the NBA Finals for a second straight season.
In contrast, the Mavericks have endured one of the more painful and publicized offseasons in recent memory. The team believed it had reached an agreement with Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. The 27-year-old reportedly agreed to a maximum, four-year contract to leave the Clippers. Allegedly disgruntled with being the team’s third best option and his toxic relationship with Chris Paul, most believed Jordan wanted out of Los Angeles badly.
But Jordan changed his mind at the last minute, bypassing a chance to sign with the Mavericks. Jordan signed a maximum salary contract with the Clippers to remain as their center for years to come.
While this situation with Jefferson does not involve one of the top free agents on the market, it can’t feel good to be snubbed twice in one offseason.
[Image by Ronald Martinez / Getty Images]