Suns Waive Derrick Jones

11:32am: The Suns have officially waived Jones, the club confirmed today in a press release.

10:08am: The Suns will waive Derrick Jones to create an open spot on their 15-man roster, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). The move was necessary in order to clear room for Mike James, whose two-way contract is being converted into a standard NBA deal.

Jones, 20, initially signed with the Suns as an undrafted free agent in September 2016. He has played sparingly for the team since then, appearing in 38 total games and averaging 4.7 PPG and 2.2 RPG in 15.2 minutes per contest. The UNLV product is perhaps best known for his participation in last season’s Slam Dunk Contest — he was the runner-up to champion Glenn Robinson.

Jones had been set to earn $1,312,611 this season, but his contract was non-guaranteed, so the Suns will only be on the hook for a portion of that amount — by my math, the cap charge will work out to about $400K. Of course, if Jones is claimed on waivers, Phoenix will no longer have to carry any part of his contract on its cap for 2017/18. The young forward is under team control through 2020, with a non-guaranteed minimum salary for 2018/19 and a minimum-salary team option for 2019/20.

As Charania tweets, Jones may draw real interest in the waiver process due to his youth and his contract structure. However, any team wanting to place a claim would need to have cap room or an exception big enough to absorb his salary. The waiver order is based on this year’s reverse standings, meaning the Bulls would have first dibs.

As for James, he and the Suns discussed multiple contract structures, but ultimately settled on a rest-of-season deal, per Charania. James will be on track to reach restricted free agency in the summer of 2018.

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