James Jones to re-sign with the Heat
James Jones has agreed to re-sign with the Heat for the player minimum after being waived just three weeks ago.
Jones was not worth the 3-years and $14.9 million remaining on his previous contract, which would have paid him $4.7 million in the upcoming season, particularly to a team in such desperate need of the added cap space. And so, the Heat elected to waive him in favor of his reduced $5.952 million partial guarantee.
However, Pat Riley did one better. The team 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. In effect, the Heat recovered $3.1 million in additional cap space this off-season after cutting Jones.
Jones, then no longer affiliated with the Heat, had no reason to offer a $1.0 million reduced buyout. I speculated at the time that in return for doing so, he and Riley may have had an agreement in place in which Riley would offer a minimum salary contract after the team’s cap space was all used up.
This is exactly how events ultimately transpired. While Jones was not worth the added $3.1 million against the salary cap, he is most certainly worth a minimum salary contract at no cost to the team other than a roster spot utilized. Jones figures to be a valuable addition to a team in desperate need of long-range shooting and only Mike Miller thus far able to provide it.
Jones has received something of a bad rap in South Florida because he signed a lucrative contract which he never lived up to. But if he does for the Heat this season precisely what he did last season, shoot 41.1% from the three-point line and otherwise remain largely anonymous, he will have lived up to his more modest deal.
Jones figures to come off the bench as a spot-up shooting small forward. But here’s a potential new wrinkle for you. At 6’8″ tall, Jones has the ability to guard perimeter-oriented power forwards as much as he does small forwards. Such hybrid power forwards appear all the rage in the league right now. Jones’ flexibility makes it possible for us to see rotations that include Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Mike Miller, James Jones and Chris Bosh. Or, at least I can see the rationale for doing so – a true low-post scoring threat, two slash-and-kick superstars to suck in the defense, and two lethal knock-down three-point shooters would leave defenses scrambling for their lives.
Ironically, a man who played just 503 total minutes on an unspectacular Heat team last season can potentially see his role increase substantially on a championship-caliber squad.
Jones will find himself in the somewhat unique situation of receiving two different paychecks from the Heat every other week this season – receiving the proceeds from his buyout as well as the proceeds from his new two-year minimum salary contract (with the second year being a player option).
Here’s a look at a comparison of his current pay versus the pay he would have received had he not been waived: