Damian Jones

Western Notes: Jones, Lakers, House, M. Brown, Mavs

The Lakers were interested earlier in the summer in big man Damian Jones before the Kings chose to guarantee his salary, according to Marc Stein of Substack. Jones had his $1.98MM salary guaranteed last month despite a glut of centers on Sacramento’s roster. Jones played eight games for the Lakers last season. Los Angeles is expected to sign DeAndre Jordan once he’s bought out by the Pistons and clears waivers.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Danuel House is likely to be dealt during the upcoming season, Rahat Huq of the Houston Chronicle opines. House has an expiring $3.98MM contract and doesn’t have a future on the rebuilding Rockets. He appeared in just 36 games last season but might bring back a late first-rounder from a contender seeking depth at the wing, Huq adds.
  • Moses Brown is working closely with longtime NBA center Tyson Chandler to improve his game, Dwain Price of Mavs.com writes. Brown was traded twice this offseason and was forwarded by Boston to the Mavericks in the Josh Richardson deal. “He’s been helping Moses a little bit in the gym just to kind of help him get a feel for things,” Al Whitley, GM of the G League Texas Legends, said of Chandler. “So to have a guy like Tyson Chandler as a mentor – someone who is a championship player, who brings what Tyson brought to the court, his intensity, toughness, all those types of things – that’s now being shared with Moses.”
  • Free agents Lance Stephenson and Isaiah Thomas left positive impressions during the workouts with the Mavericks, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets. Dallas is seeking more backcourt depth and both veterans guards are looking to revive their NBA careers.

Kings Guarantee Salaries For Damian Jones, Chimezie Metu

The Kings have guaranteed the contracts of center Damian Jones and Chimezie Metu, according to tweets from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and NBC Sports Bay Area’s James Ham, respectively. Jones’ contract is now fully guaranteed while Metu received a partial guarantee.

The 26-year-old Jones, the former 30th overall pick by the Warriors in 2016, was assured of his $1.98MM salary for 2021/22 as long as he wasn’t waived today, ESPN’s Bobby Marks explains (via Twitter). After bouncing around the league, Jones finished last season in Sacramento, playing 17 games for the Kings and averaging 6.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 1.0 BPG in 20 minutes a night.

His play as the team’s backup center at the end of the season allowed him to parlay his two separate 10-day contracts into a partially-guaranteed deal. He will now go into the season holding onto the Kings’ 14th roster spot.

Metu, who was converted from a two-way contract at the end of last season, is he Kings’ 15th man for the time being. The 24-year-old power forward/center has improved each year in the league, averaging 6.3 PPG and 3.1 RPG while shooting 35% from three last season, all career-highs.

According to Ham, Metu’s contract is now partially guaranteed for $881,398 — it has the potential to be worth $1.8MM over the entire season if he sticks with the team.

Kings Sign Damian Jones To Multiyear Deal

APRIL 28: Jones’ deal is now official, the Kings announced in a press release.

“Damian provides a defensive presence and has fit in nicely with our group,” general manager Monte McNair said in a statement. “We are excited to see his continued growth in Sacramento.”

The team also announced that Silva has been officially released, which accommodated the promotion of Chimezie Metu to the 15-man roster.

APRIL 27: Damian Jones‘ second 10-day contract with the Kings expired on Monday night, but the club won’t let him get away. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Jones is signing a rest-of-season contract with Sacramento that will also cover the 2021/22 season.

Although the Kings have an open spot on their 15-man roster and don’t need to cut anyone to make room for Jones, they’ll waive forward Chris Silva, Wojnarowski adds.

Jones, 25, has played for more than half the teams in the Pacific this season, having started the year with Phoenix before he was released by the Suns in February. He later signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Lakers, then joined the Kings for two more 10-day deals.

In total, Jones has appeared in 28 games (10.7 MPG) in 2020/21, averaging 3.1 PPG and 2.4 RPG with a .696 FG%. He had one of his best games of the season on Monday, putting up eight points and seven rebounds in a Kings win over Dallas.

As for Silva, he was acquired by the Kings in a deadline deal that sent Nemanja Bjelica to the Heat and never seemed to be in Sacramento’s future plans. He logged just nine total minutes across four games for the Kings, racking up more fouls (four) than points (two). He’ll become an unrestricted free agent if and when he clears waivers.

Once the Kings complete both transactions, they’ll still have one open spot on their 15-man roster, which they could use to complete another 10-day or rest-of-season signing.

Checking In On Active 10-Day Contracts

Since the NBA’s 10-day signing window for the 2020/21 season officially opened in February, a total of 54 separate 10-day deals have been finalized. Many of those signings have be completed since the trade deadline passed a month ago — 36 10-day contracts have been signed in April alone.

With so much action on the 10-day market, we’re taking a little time today to check in on the 10-day deals that are still active, exploring which of those players are eligible for additional 10-day contracts and which teams are still shuttling players in and out of their back-end roster spots.

Here, with the help of our 10-day tracker and our roster counts page, are the players on active 10-day deals:

Players on their first 10-day contracts:

These players will all be eligible for a second 10-day contract once their current deals expire. In the case of Brown, it’s possible the Thunder would just sign him to a rest-of-season deal if they’re comfortable keeping him around, since a second 10-day deal would run through at least May 14. The regular season ends on May 16.

Players on their second 10-day contracts:

These players won’t be eligible for a new 10-day contract when their current deals expire, since a player can’t sign three 10-day deals with the same team in a single season. It’s a safe bet that some of these players will receive rest-of-season contracts though — I’d be shocked if the Raptors let Gillespie get away, for instance.

Any team here that opts not to re-sign a player to a rest-of-season contract would open up a roster spot, which could be used on another 10-day trial before the regular season ends. Golden State and Portland are carrying just 14 players at the moment, so they’d have each two open roster spots if they don’t re-sign Payton and Hollis-Jefferson, respectively.

There are a handful of other teams that could still take advantage of the 10-day contract before the end of the season. The Heat, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, and Wizards all have at least one open roster spot.

The Heat and Pelicans are right up against the luxury tax line and may be done with 10-days for the season, preferring rest-of-season commitments if and when they fill their roster openings. The Wolves, Spurs, and Wizards may end up going that route too, but for now they’re still decent candidates for 10-day signings.

The Kings, meanwhile, had Damian Jones on a pair of 10-day contracts before his second deal expired on Monday night. Head coach Luke Walton spoke positively about Jones’ contributions to the team, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays (via Twitter), so the veteran center could end up getting a rest-of-season contract. If so, Sacramento would have a full roster and would likely be done with 10-days for the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings Sign Damian Jones To Second 10-Day Deal

APRIL 17: The Kings have made it official, announcing Jones’ second 10-day deal in a press release.

APRIL 16: The Kings are signing center Damian Jones to a second 10-day contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Jones’ first 10-day contract with Sacramento is set to expire on Friday night.

Jones began the season with the Suns before being waived in February, then signed a pair of 10-day deals with the Lakers. He played 14 games with Phoenix and eight with L.A., averaging a combined 3.0 PPG and 2.0 RPG. Since his arrival in Sacramento, Jones has started three games and averaged 2.3 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 13.3 MPG.

Sacramento will have another decision to make on Jones later this month, since teams can only sign players to two 10 days in a season.

The Kings’ usual starting center, Richaun Holmes, is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.

California Notes: McLemore, Cousins, Jones, Gasol

The newest Lakers addition, athletic veteran wing Ben McLemore, brings competent perimeter defense to the club, but more than that, his three-point shooting will fulfill a need for Los Angeles, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was effusive in his praise for the new reserve: “Ben instantly elevates our ability to knock down 3s on the backside when double teams come and we can play the drive-and-kick game that the modern NBA is made on. So we’re thrilled about his addition and looking forward to getting him into some minutes and into our program.”

The latest Laker is a career 36.3% three-point shooter on 4.0 attempts per game. This season with the rebuilding Rockets, he converted a somewhat below-average 33.1% of his 5.2 long-range looks per contest. Last season, with Houston in the thick of a playoff hunt, McLemore was connecting on 40% of his 6.4 deep looks a night.

There’s more out of California:

  • Clippers All-Star forward Paul George conveyed his excitement for the club’s newest backup center, former four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“He’s still one of the most skilled bigs in the league,” George raved. Cousins discussed his focus on his fitness in striving to remain in the NBA following a string of major lower body injuries. “I’ve put an incredible amount of work to get to this place,” Cousins said. “I’m in probably the best shape I’ve been in my entire career.”
  • New Kings center Damian Jones, inked to a 10-day deal with the team, has observed similarities between Sacramento’s plays and those of his former team in Golden State, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. Kings head coach Luke Walton was an assistant coach on the Warriors bench before departing for his first head coaching opportunity with the Lakers.
  • Recently-demoted Lakers center Marc Gasol made a strong case for continued rotation minutes when he stepped in for new starting center Andre Drummond recently, writes Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. Gasol appeared to be more positive about his reduced role in Los Angeles alongside Drummond. “No matter if it’s five minutes, 10 minutes, if it’s whatever position — if it’s some nights, I might not play,” Gasol acknowledged. “It’s been a process for me to reassess this situation a little bit, but like I said, I’m fully committed to this team. So, whatever is thrown at me, I’ll be ready.” Previously, Gasol had expressed frustration with the move. With Drummond now back, Gasol did not play at all in tonight’s 110-104 loss to the Heat.

Kings Sign Damian Jones To 10-Day Deal

APRIL 7: The signing is now official via the Sacramento Kings official team page

APRIL 3: Free agent center Damian Jones will sign a 10-day contract with the Kings, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Jones will fill the roster spot the team created when it waived DaQuan Jeffries earlier today.

The exact date of Jones’ signing remains uncertain, Anderson adds (via Twitter). He has to clear all the NBA’s testing protocols before he’s eligible for a contract.

The Kings will be the third team of the year for Jones, who started the season with the Suns before being waived in February, then signed a pair of 10-day deals with the Lakers. He played 14 games with Phoenix and eight with L.A., averaging a combined 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per night.

The 25-year-old offers another option in the middle if the Kings decide to part with Hassan Whiteside, who has been rumored as a potential buyout candidate.

Lakers Not Re-Signing Damian Jones

Lakers center Damian Jones, whose second 10-day contract with Los Angeles expired overnight, will not be retained on a rest-of-season deal, per Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.

Jones has suited up in eight contests for the Lakers so far (including six starts, with Marc Gasol sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols). Woike notes that roster limitations impeded on Jones getting further time with the club.

With the departure of Jones, the Lakers have two open roster spots. That flexibility could come in handy as they look for help in the trade and buyout markets as All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain out. The team may prefer to add a more seasoned big man like Andre Drummond, should the Cavaliers center become available on the buyout market.

As Kevin Pelton of ESPN details, the Lakers are only about $1.7MM below their hard cap, which will limit the amount of salary they can take on in any deal. Woike also mentioned the hard cap was a consideration in the Lakers’ decision to move on from Jones.

Jones, 25, spent his first three NBA seasons as an occasional player for some loaded Warriors teams. He spent all of the 2019/20 season with the Hawks. This year, he logged 14 games in Phoenix before latching on with Los Angeles. He averaged 5.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 0.9 BPG across 14.0 MPG in his eight contests with LA.

Pacific Notes: Holmes, Looney, D. Jones, Clippers

In case the Kings are thinking about moving impending free agent Richaun Holmes before Thursday’s trade deadline, Holmes is making sure the organization knows where his loyalties lie, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California. After posting 25 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in Friday’s win at Boston, Holmes spoke of his fondness for the team.

I can’t say enough how much I love this city, love these fans, love my teammates, love stepping out there in Sacramento in my jersey representing this city,” he said. “It’s been some of the best times of my life.”

Holmes seemed like an under-the-radar signing when he joined the Kings in 2019, but he quickly became the team’s starting center. He’s averaging career highs in points (14.0), rebounds (8.7) and assists (1.3) this season and is leading the league in field goal percentage at 65.1%. He’s in line for a substantial raise this summer after making $5MM this year.

“The preparation has met the opportunity and hopefully I can keep getting better and keep making big plays for this team,” Holmes said.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors center Kevon Looney has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and won’t play in tonight’s game, according to Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. The team isn’t sure how long Looney will be out of action, but players in the protocols usually have to sit out seven days, which would cause him to miss four games. With James Wiseman and Eric Paschall already in the protocols and Marquese Chriss out for the rest of the season with a broken leg, Golden State won’t have a true center in its lineup.
  • The Lakers haven’t announced a decision yet on center Damian Jones, whose second 10-day contract expires today, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Players are limited to two 10-day deals with the same team in one season, so L.A. would have to sign Jones for the rest of the season to keep him on the roster. “No decision has been made on that,” coach Frank Vogel said, “but he’s played well and we’ll see where that goes.” Jones has started five of the seven games he has played for the Lakers and is averaging 5.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per night.
  • Ben Golliver of The Washington Post explains why the Clippers may be the contender most in need a significant move by the trade deadline.

Lakers Sign Damian Jones To Second 10-Day Deal

MARCH 11: The Lakers have officially re-signed Jones to a second 10-day deal, the team announced today in a press release. It’ll run through March 20, covering L.A.’s next five games.

MARCH 10: The Lakers intend to re-sign center Damian Jones to a second 10-day contract, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Jones made a good impression during his first 10 days as a Laker prior to the All-Star Game, putting up eight points in eight minutes in his first appearance and earning a start in Sacramento last Wednesday. Head coach Frank Vogel said prior to the break that Jones should be “optimistic about what’s ahead of him,” hinting that the big man could get another 10-day deal.

The Lakers have two open spots on their roster, so no corresponding move will be necessary to bring back Jones. With the March 25 trade deadline fast approaching, the team may leave its final roster spot open to maximize its flexibility for possible trades or buyout targets.

Since the Lakers aren’t in action until Friday, Jones likely won’t be officially re-signed until then — that would allow his new 10-day deal to run through March 21, covering the club’s first six second-half games. The contract will pay him $119K, with a $111K cap hit, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who tweets that L.A. remains about $1.5MM below the hard cap.

A player can only sign two 10-day contracts with the same team during a season, so if the Lakers want to bring back after his next deal expires, they’d need to sign him for the rest of 2020/21. That’s probably only a likely outcome if the team misses out on its top trade and buyout targets.