In search of center help after big man Mason Plumlee suffered a knee injury earlier this month, the Clippers considered former Hornet Kai Jones, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports told Dan Devine on the latest No Cap Room podcast (YouTube link).
However, based on Fischer’s comments, it doesn’t sound like Los Angeles seriously considered signing Jones.
“I know the Clippers were turning over every stone they could on the center market, to the point where they even, according to my sources, brought in one Kai Jones for a visit of some capacity,” Fischer said. “I’m not going to say too much on the former Charlotte Hornets first-round pick, but (he) doesn’t appear to be in mental or physical condition to be playing an NBA game right now. I just say that to say that shows the breadth of the Clippers’ search.”
The No. 19 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Jones averaged just 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.1 minutes per game across 67 total appearances in his first two professional seasons. He had a much bigger role at the G League level, averaging 17.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 2.1 blocks in 38 regular season games with the Greensboro Swarm — Charlotte’s affiliate — from 2021-23.
Jones made a series of odd social media posts this offseason, calling out some of his teammates in a handful of tweets and videos. A report ahead of training camp indicated that the big man wouldn’t be reporting to the Hornets for personal reasons. He subsequently requested a trade and then was waived by the club shortly thereafter. The 22-year-old has been a free agent since then.
The Clippers ultimately found a temporary replacement for Plumlee – who is expected to miss a significant chunk of the season – on the buyout market. The club reportedly intends to sign Daniel Theis after he clears waivers on Friday, assuming he passes a physical. Theis negotiated a buyout with Indiana and was officially cut on Wednesday.