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panxing18 Sep 14

DeAndre Jordan has committed to the Mavericks again Joe Flacco Jersey , and the center offered an emoji to prove it three years after he backed out on a deal to join Dallas.

The Mavericks and Jordan agreed quickly after free agency opened Sunday on a one-year contract at roughly the $24.1 million he was set to make with the Clippers next season, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.

The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because contracts can’t be signed until Friday. Jordan opted out of the final year of the deal he signed with Los Angeles when he jilted the Mavericks in 2015.

The one-year deal gives both sides flexibility beyond next season, but is a sign the Mavericks are tired of rebuilding after consecutive losing seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years. Dallas (24-58) is coming off its first 50-loss season since the last of seven in eight years in 1997-98.

If Jordan follows through on this agreement, he will leave the team that drafted him 10 years ago so he can play in his home state.

Set to turn 30 on July 21, Jordan gives the Mavericks a rebounding and shot-blocking presence they’ve mostly lacked since winning their only title in 2011. Dallas hasn’t won a playoff series since then.

The former Texas A&M standout tweeted a smiley face with a cowboy hat as news of the agreement spread on Twitter. It was a nod to the emoji-driven summertime saga that played out on social media three years ago.

After getting word that Jordan was wavering on his decision to sign with Dallas, former teammate Blake Griffin and coach Doc Rivers were part of a Clippers contingent that went to Jordan’s house in his native Houston and stayed with him until the contract was official.

Former Dallas forward Chandler Parsons was the chief recruiter of Jordan, and part of the wild emoji exchange, so of course he had to weigh in after Jordan’s latest decision.

Circumstances are much different now, with the former All-Stars who helped persuade Jordan to stay no longer around. Chris Paul engineered a trade to Houston last summer, and the Clippers shipped Griffin to Detroit in January in a sign that rebuilding years could be ahead.

The Mavericks are two years into their own reconstruction with a pair of top 10 picks. Dennis Smith Jr. Jake Ryan Jersey , taken ninth last year, has been joined by another player who will begin his NBA career as a teenager in European standout Luka Doncic.

Dallas moved up two spots in the draft last week to get the Slovenian guard, who was taken third overall by Atlanta while the Mavericks selected former Oklahoma scoring sensation Trae Young for the Hawks.

Jordan, who was second in the NBA at 15.2 rebounds per game last season, shores up an area that has long been a weakness for Dallas. Although his blocked shots dropped significantly last season, Jordan gives the Mavericks a rim presence they have coveted.

The 6-foot-11 Jordan has averaged at least 12 points each of the past three years. He has career averages of 9.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 10 seasons.

His arrival would be an odd twist for Dallas fans, who booed him steadfastly in each of his five trips to Dallas after that summertime saga. Jordan’s presence also could mean Dirk Nowitzki comes off the bench in what is expected to be his record 21st season with the same franchise.

Since the change of heart by Jordan, the most productive center for the Mavericks was their immediate replacement – Zaza Pachulia in 2015-16. Dallas hoped Nerlens Noel could become a significant piece after trading for him at the deadline in 2017. But the sixth overall pick by Philadelphia in 2013 never blossomed.

Captain Munnerlyn took one glance at the Carolina Panthers wide receivers’ 40-yard times and couldn’t believe what he saw.

The veteran cornerback has never seen such a compilation of speed amassed at one position on a roster in any of his 10 NFL training camps.

”Oh man, we got some fast receivers A.J. Derby Jersey ,” Munnerlyn said. ”I was like, `Wow, almost everyone runs a 4.4 or lower. That’s crazy.’ We have some speed on this team – and we probably needed it.”

That’s an understatement.

The Panthers offense stagnated last season as quarterback Cam Newton found himself with no deep threats after Ted Ginn Jr. left to sign with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent and youngsters Curtis Samuel and Damierre Byrd went down with injuries.

The trickledown effect of not having anyone to stretch the field, combined with three-time 1,000 yard receiving tight end Greg Olsen missing most of the season with a foot injury made Newton’s job last season extremely difficult. It also played havoc with the team’s running game as opposing defenses were able to walk an extra defender into the box. Carolina still finished 11-5 and earned a wild card despite finishing 19th in offense but lacked the firepower to make a run in the NFC playoffs.

General manager Marty Hurney wasn’t about to let that happen again.

The Panthers upgraded their speed at wide receiver by trading for Torrey Smith, signing free agent Jarius Wright and selecting the elusive D.J. Moore from Maryland in the first round of the NFL draft.

Smith has averaged 16.4 yards per catch during his seven NFL seasons with the Ravens, 49ers and, most recently, the Super Bowl champion Eagles. Wright joins the Panthers after six seasons with the Vikings, where he worked under new Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner and averaged 13.3 yards per catch. Moore caught 80 passes last season at Maryland and earned a reputation as a receiver who makes defenders miss and piles up yards after the catch.

With Samuel and Byrd coming back from injuries Sony Michel Jersey , Newton should have no shortage of options when it comes to stretching the field.

”I think we would probably have the fastest track team in the NFL for sure,” Wright said. ”We got a 1A and a 1B team. That’s how fast our receiving corps is.”

Coach Ron Rivera is quietly optimistic.

He said the Panthers ”have some speed that we haven’t had in a while” at the wide receiver and defensive back positions.

”I think that is a good thing for us,” Rivera said. ”We can be a fast team.”

All of that is good news for Newton, who was limited to 22 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions in 2017 – two years after throwing 35 TD passes and 10 interceptions while earning league MVP honors and leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl.

The logical thinking is if defenses have to honor the deep threat it will allow Olsen and No. 1 receiver Devin Funchess to work underneath the coverage – and also free up rushing lanes for running back Christian McCaffrey and Newton, the team’s leading rusher last season.

Funchess may not be the fastest wide receiver on the roster, but he figures to play a huge role in the passing game.

He moved over to the ”X” position, or No. 1 receiver spot, during the middle of last season after the Panthers abruptly traded former No. 1 draft pick Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills.

Funchess and Benjamin were considered similar possession-type receivers, and Hurney said at the time he wanted to get more speed on the field.

Funchess responded with some solid games in Benjamin’s absence, and finished the season with 63 receptions for 840 yards and eight touchdowns despite routinely seeing double coverage. He’ll have plenty of motivation to improve on that production given that he’ll become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

”I focus on strictly football and that part has nothing to do with me Brooks Reed Jersey ,” Funchess said. ”If (the Panthers) want to (get a deal done), they can. … I’m out here to play football, work with coach Turner, work with the rest of the wide receivers, and talk a little trash to (Panthers linebacker) Thomas Davis.”

Wright likes what he sees so far from the wideouts.

”I think we have one of the best groups in the NFL,” Wright said. ”We have so many guys that bring a lot of different things to the game. But every guy can run out there. With so many playmakers, an experienced offensive coordinator and an MVP quarterback like Cam Newton our offense should be rolling.”

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