DeAndre Jordan signs Warriors offer

Updated: December 12, 2011, 2:46 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan signed a four-year, $43 million offer sheet with the Golden State Warriors Sunday afternoon, a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne.

Jordan is a restricted free agent, meaning the Clippers will have three days to match the offer sheet or lose the talented 23-year-old who averaged 7.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks last season while making less than $900,000.

Clippers general manager Neil Olshey has said that retaining Jordan -- who is close friends with superstar forward Blake Griffin -- is a priority for the organization.

Earlier Sunday, a league source told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher that the team planned to match the Warriors offer.

"We're committed to the core group we have," Olshey told ESPNLosAngeles.com last week. "We've been building slowly and we're in a great position to capitalize on that now with our cap flexibility. But we know that our existing players are a priority."

Olshey executed one of his top priorities this offseason when he signed free agent small forward Caron Butler to a three-year, $24 million contract on Friday.

Retaining Jordan and coming to an agreement on a four-year extension for fourth-year guard Eric Gordon are the other priorities.

"I'm confident," Griffin said earlier this week when asked if he thought Jordan would return. "I think that's somewhat of a main thing for us, as Neil has said. But as a friend of DJ's, I think he needs to do what's best for him. I think he thinks this might be, and I think we feel the same way."

Matching Jordan's offer sheet could practically force starting center Chris Kaman to seek a trade elsewhere, a second source told Bucher.

Jordan's playing time and role are sure to expand to justify his eight-figure salary and that means a reduced role for Kaman, who will be a free agent next summer.

His chances of landing another contract close in value to the five-year, $52.5 million deal set to expire will depend on proving he's still a starting center with All-Star potential and he's not likely to get that chance in Los Angeles if Jordan is retained.

Injuries limited Kaman to 32 games last season, but in 2009-10 he stayed healthy and averaged 18.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots in 76 games, earning him his first All-Star selection.

Teams who already have expressed an interest in Kaman, according to a league source, include the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz.

The source also told Bucher that New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul's interest in potentially being traded to the Clippers stems, in part, from the prospect of playing with Jordan, who is a younger, stronger version of Tyson Chandler, with whom Paul played for three seasons in New Orleans before Chandler was dealt in 2009 to the Charlotte Bobcats.

If Paul agreeing to exercise the option for an additional year on his contract, assuring the Clippers would have him at least through the 2012-13 season, hinges on Jordan being on the roster, then the Clippers would be more inclined to go along with Jordan's steep raise. How much the Clippers have to give the Hornets to acquire Paul is also a factor in their decision on Jordan, but iIncluding Kaman in any deal for the point guard would resolve a problem created if they match the Warriors' offer for Jordan.

The high-scoring Warriors, under new coach Mark Jackson, are making a push to become a more defensive-oriented team to compliment the undersized guard combo of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. While the franchise's front-office reconstruction under new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber made splashes this summer, notably hiring executive Jerry West, the roster has remained almost a mirror image of the one that finished 36-46 last season and got coach Keith Smart fired.

The Warriors put themselves in position to sign Jordan by waiving guard Charlie Bell earlier Sunday under the new amnesty provision, which allows teams a once-a-year-option to wipe a player's remaining contract from the salary cap and avoid any luxury tax penalties.

They also rescinded a qualifying offer to forward Reggie Williams, waived popular guard Jeremy Lin and have yet to sign rookies Klay Thompson and Jeremy Tyler. Both rookies have been observing practice but can't participate until they're under contract.

Bell showed up intoxicated at a Thursday court date for a drunken driving arrest in Michigan, authorities said, and he never reported to training camp. He already is facing a one-game suspension without pay after pleading no contest to reckless driving in California, and his contributions -- and contract -- were considerably less than center Andris Biedrins, another amnesty possibility.

Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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