The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to sign veteran backup center DeAndre Jordan once he clears waivers later on Thursday, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Barring an unlikely waiver claim before the 5 PM ET deadline today, center DeAndre Jordan is expected to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers, sources tell ESPN. Lakers waived Jordan on Tuesday and Sixers have an open roster spot and desire to add another backup center.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 3, 2022
The Sixers are looking to fix their hole at backup center since they included Andre Drummond in the blockbuster deal that brought James Harden to the Sixers at the trade deadline. The team was originally linked to being interested in signing Jordan back on Feb. 28. Signing Jordan as a free agent once he clears waivers would save the team $2.3 million in luxury tax.
Jordan is a solid rebounder, averaging 5.4 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game in 32 games for the Los Angeles Lakers this season before he was waived on Tuesday. However, he has definitely lost a step over the last couple of seasons and is known to make a poor play from time to time. He had started in 19 games for the Lakers this season before mostly falling out of the rotation. He used to be one of the more athletic, rim-running centers in the league but he is multiple years past his prime.
The 33-year old is not the best defender due to his diminished quickness and athleticism, but he is still capable of playing solid defense around the rim. He did average 0.8 blocks per game in limited minutes this season, but he does not have the lateral quickness to be able to stay in front of quicker, more shiftier guards near the rim.
Jordan is not the player he used to be and has proven over the last two seasons he is no longer a championship-caliber center, even in backup minutes. The Sixers have a variety of other options already on the roster that are better or have higher potential than adding Jordan to the roster.
Paul Reed and Charles Bassey both showed flashes in limited minutes earlier this season. Bassey, specifically, possesses athleticism and rim-running potential and would theoretically be a great fit playing with Harden. However, head coach Doc Rivers does not seem to trust them and has not given either of them an extended opportunity to win the backup center spot in the rotation.
Rivers has a clear preference to rely on a veteran with the backup center minutes. The team signed Willie Cauley-Stein to a 10-day contract, but they did not give him any minutes outside of garbage time and his contract expires in the coming days. Paul Millsap came over as part of the Harden deal, but he has disappointed so far in his brief time with the Sixers.
Jordan very well could be the answer to the team's issues at backup center. Playing under Rivers and with Harden, who has a history of elevating rim-running centers he has played with, could help him elevate his game closer to the levels he reached in the prime of his career. Or he could prove to be just another veteran player at the tail end of his career who flames out. Only time will tell, but the Sixers definitely need to figure out a way to address this issue before the playoffs.