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DeAndre Jordan 'on the verge' of signing 4-year, $80 million contract with Mavericks

Dallas will finally get a top free agent, while the Clippers are devastated.

Free agent center DeAndre Jordan is "on the verge" of leaving the Los Angeles Clippers and signing a four-year, $80 million max contract with the Dallas Mavericks, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. He is expected to announce his decision on Friday evening, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears.

The decision, once finalized, gives Dallas new life in Dirk Nowtizki's twilight and devastates a Clippers team that doesn't have any good way to replace Jordan.

Assuming the deal is done as expected, Jordan will join Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and newly-signed shooting guard Wesley Matthews in Dallas as the Mavericks attempt to rebuild into a contender. A reported rift with Chris Paul opened up the chance for Jordan's exit from Los Angeles, and the Mavericks pounced. They wowed the Texas native with a dinner and a presentation, and sealed the deal with the promise of a bigger role than the one that he had with the Clippers. A chance to be a featured player was too appealing for Jordan to pass up, landing Dallas a star after a few misses in free agency.

The Clippers, meanwhile, will lose their starting center and have nobody to replace him. They traded backup Spencer Hawes to Charlotte and will not have any significant cap space to sign Jordan's replacement.

Jordan had his best season as a pro in the final year of his contract with the Clippers. He took advantage of a lengthy Blake Griffin absence to show how dominant he could be on the boards and as the main target of pick-and-rolls. His impressive performance didn't go unnoticed, as he finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting and became one of the most sought-after free agents on the market.

The Clippers made their intentions of keeping Jordan known from the start, with Doc Rivers saying they planned to offer him a maximum contract. Despite their interest, there were reports that Jordan wanted to return to his native Texas, with the Mavericks as his preferred destination. Jordan also met with the Lakers and the Knicks, but people close to the situation always said it was a two-franchise race between Dallas and the Clippers for his services.

Entering his eighth year in the league, Jordan is in his prime. There haven't been many centers as athletic as him in NBA history and he's been incredibly durable for a big man, having played every game for the past four seasons. His offensive repertoire is limited to dunks and the occasional jump hook, but his presence on the defensive end as well as his rebounding prowess makes him a valuable commodity.

Last season, he averaged 11 points and 15 rebounds and led the league in rebounding and field goal percentage, connecting on over 70 percent of his attempts. His Achilles' heel is his free throw shooting. Teams routinely intentionally foul him, as he's a career 42 percent shooter from the line. At this point in his development, expecting him to make significant improvements in that area doesn't seem very realistic. But on the whole his strengths vastly outweigh his weaknesses.

The Mavericks will get a younger version of Tyson Chandler to patrol the paint and help offset Nowitzki's decline as a defender and rebounder. There's enough scoring on that roster to allow Jordan to focus on the defensive end until he picks up the complexities of Dallas' offense, but he could prove to be a deadly option in the pick-and-roll thanks to Dallas' ability to have four shooters surrounding him.

Getting younger and more athletic by signing Jordan won't turn the Mavericks into instant contenders, but he gives them a blue-chip player to build around long term. This is a coup for them after they missed on their top targets in previous offseasons.