Detroit acquired Jordan, four second-round picks and $5.78 million in a deal with Brooklyn on Friday with the intention of buying out the remaining two years and $20 million on Jordan’s contract, sources told ESPN.
Once the buyout agreement is signed, Jordan will have to clear waivers before becoming a free agent and signing with the Lakers. His contract terms make it virtually impossible for Jordan to be claimed by a team.
The Nets received Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya in the deal with Detroit, sources said. They will send the Pistons their 2022 and 2027 second-round picks along with the more favorable 2024 second-rounder between the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies and the more favorable 2025 second-rounder between the Wizards and Golden State Warriors, sources said.
Trading Jordan’s contract instead of buying it out offers the Nets financial relief in the short term, but also in the future with the repeater tax penalty starting in 2023.
Brooklyn had the option of waiving and stretching the $19.7 million owed on Jordan’s deal over five seasons; that would’ve represented a $3.9 million cap hit that would’ve lingered on the team’s books from 2021 to 2025. The move could have saved the Nets money on their luxury tax bill for the next two years but cost them an extra $20 million in 2023-24, and could’ve reached $50 million in 2024-25 and 2025-26.
It is not immediately clear whether the Nets will keep Okafor or Doumbouya or decide to waive them, sources said. That is expected to be determined in the coming days and weeks. The Nets are planning to waive forward Alize Johnson, sources said.
Jordan will return to Los Angeles, where he spent the first 10 years of his career as a member of the Clippers. The Lakers have signed several veteran players to their bench — including eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard — and still have three-time All-Star Marc Gasol on the roster.
Gasol arrived in L.A. with a championship pedigree from his time in Toronto and bloodlines linking him to the Lakers after his brother, Pau, teamed with Kobe Bryant to win two titles with the franchise. Originally, Gasol was named the starting center after signing a two-year contract worth slightly above the veteran’s minimum but struggled to find his shot in the early going, shooting just 40.3% from the field prior to the All-Star break.
While Marc Gasol was brought to the Lakers, in part, for his ability to provide a secondary playmaker at the center position, Jordan brings a similar skill set to JaVale McGee. Before he was traded away, McGee teamed with Dwight Howard to flank Anthony Davis in the frontcourt as a rim-protecting big during L.A.’s championship run in the Orlando, Florida, bubble.
Jordan was part of a free-agent signing class with Brooklyn that included Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in 2019. Initially, Jordan alternated at starting center with Jarrett Allen, who was eventually traded to Cleveland as part of the four-team deal that landed the Nets All-NBA guard James Harden. Once the Nets acquired Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, Jordan’s role diminished.
Jordan averaged 7.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 57 games played last season in Brooklyn.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Bobby Marks and Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.