James Jones to re-sign with the Heat
James Jones has agreed to re-sign with the Heat on a one-year minimum salary deal worth approximately $1.15 million, with a player option on a second year, after being waived just three weeks ago.
Jones was not worth the three years and $14.91 million remaining on his previous contract, which would have paid him $4.65 million in the upcoming season, particularly to a team in desperate need of the added cap space to achieve far bigger goals. And so, the Heat elected to waive him in favor of his reduced $5.952 million partial guarantee.
However, Pat Riley did one better. He was able to recover an extra $1.0 million through an agreed-to buyout, which will count $1.544 million against the cap next season.
Why Jones, about to be no longer affiliated with the Heat, surrendered the extra million remains unclear. The Heat surely weren’t seeking to reduce their financial obligations to the sharpshooter but rather to recover much-needed cap space. The give-back created an extra $311,828 of cap space, which doesn’t sound like much but was critical at the time; it made it technically possible for the Heat to offer three max contracts at the then-estimated $56 million salary cap.
When the finalized cap number increased to $58.044 million, the gesture lost its significance. But not its awe-inspiring selflessness. The Heat returned the favor by giving him his entire $4.952 million buy-out up front.
This is exactly how events ultimately transpired.
While Jones was not worth his original $4.65 million salary, he is most certainly worth a minimum salary contract. Jones figures to be a valuable addition to a team in desperate need of the long-range shooting both he and Mike Miller provide. His corner three-point shooting touch will space the floor both vertically and horizontally, opening up lanes into which Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will drive. He may not play very much, but he’s more than capable of blowing a game wide open if he gets a few open looks.
Jones has received something of a bad reputuation in South Florida because he signed a lucrative contract which he never lived up to. But if he does for the Heat this season what he did last season – shoot 41.1% from the three-point line, play solid team defense, and otherwise remain largely anonymous – he will have lived up to his more modest deal.