— -- The view was clear from DeAndre Jordan's house in the Pacific Palisades on the morning of Friday, July 3. This time of year, the marine layer that keeps these bluffs above the Pacific Ocean cool burns off early in the day. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and forward Chandler Parsons arrived at Jordan's house just after breakfast, ready to make one last pitch to the man they hoped would anchor their team for at least the next four years.
Parsons had been wooing and partying with Jordan for weeks in an elaborate, "Entourage"-style recruiting trip through the hottest clubs and most exclusive haunts in Los Angeles and Houston. On the first night of free agency, Parsons, Cuban and Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki took Jordan out for a gluttonous sushi feast in a private room at Nobu, a few miles up the road from Jordan's house in Malibu. After that, Parsons and Cuban had been in constant contact with the 26-year-old center. Other teams had gone to meet with Jordan at the offices of his agent, Dan Fegan, in Beverly Hills. But their pitches had been self-contained: an hour or two of the typical marketing presentations and basketball discussions that start to sound the same if you hear too many in too short of a time period. The Mavericks' pitch was all-inclusive and all-consuming.
It was working, too. But Cuban and Parsons felt they needed one last grand gesture to seal the deal. So Thursday night, not long after the Clippers wrapped up their pitch to Jordan, Parsons sent him a text message with a photo of him and Cuban boarding a private jet from Dallas to Los Angeles.
"Flight time, 2 hours and 30 minutes. Coming in hot."
Jordan responded right away. "No way!!!"
Parsons texted: "Haha yessssssir, Face Time me real quick."
Parsons and Cuban landed in L.A. and checked into the SLS Hotel. Friday morning they had breakfast with Fegan (also Parsons' agent) at the Polo Lounge inside the Beverly Hills Hotel, then drove across town to Jordan's house in the Palisades. This last meeting was to be the rose ceremony. After months of courtship, the Mavs and Jordan would seal the deal.
They'd pitched Jordan on a larger role in the offense and told him they believed he could be the best center in the NBA. They pumped him up and said that they'd help him become all the things there wasn't room to become in Los Angeles, playing in the shadows of L.A.'s superstars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. They'd shown him love, attention and respect. It was exactly what Jordan had said he'd wanted from this free-agent process and Cuban and Parsons tapped into it brilliantly.
Cuban repeated the pitch as he walked alone with Jordan into the backyard of his house overlooking the Pacific.
"Then I said to him, 'Are there any other questions? Now is the time to ask me anything ... but if you're telling me what you want is what you want, I will do my best to get you there.'"
Cuban recalls that it got silent for a few moments as Jordan processed it all.
"Then," according to Cuban, "he says, 'I love that. I love that. I'm going to Dallas.'"
Parsons was in the house with Jordan's family, friends and agents.
"I hear this scream in the backyard and it's Cuban, walking inside with his hands up like, 'We got him!'" Parsons said. "It was unbelievable. I was so hyped, because he really is a franchise-changing type player. They don't come around very often.
"It was awesome. His mom was crying. I think Cuban might have even cried."
Cuban offered to fly Jordan and his family to Dallas to celebrate. Fegan had dropped $30,000 to charter him a private yacht, complete with a captain and first mate, to take them anywhere they wanted to go for the holiday weekend. He'd done something similar for another client, Dwight Howard, when he was making a huge free-agent decision a few years earlier. Fegan flew Howard to Aspen, Colorado, where he holed up for 48 hours in a luxury cabin before he chose to bolt the Los Angeles Lakers for the Houston Rockets.
Jordan declined both offers, saying he'd prefer to fly back with his family to his home in Houston on a 1 p.m. flight.
Before they all parted ways, the group gathered for a toast.
"They all had tequila," Cuban said. "I had vodka. It was still morning."
It was the last time they were all happy together.
"Never in a million years did I think I had to quarantine the guy," Cuban said.