Because waiving Quinn Cook dropped the Lakers down to 13 players, they only had two weeks to sign someone to at least a 10-day contract to bring their roster up the league minimum of 14 players, as our own Christian Rivas outlined this morning. A few hours later, that’s exactly what the Lakers had done, announcing they had signed Damian Jones to a 10-day deal in a press release on Friday.
The Los Angeles Lakers have signed center Damian Jones to a 10-day contract, it was announced today by Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka.
Jones has played in 118 career games (49 starts) for Golden State, Atlanta and Phoenix, with averages of 4.3 points (.657 FG%) and 2.8 rebounds in 13.3 minutes. Last season with Atlanta, Jones notched 5.6 points (.680 FG%) and 3.7 rebounds. In 14 games for Phoenix this year, he tallied 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.
Jones could theoretically be available against the Portland Trail Blazers tonight, but it seems highly unlikely he’d play in his first game for this team, and certainly not significant minutes.
Jones most recently played for the Suns, who waived him on Tuesday. This is where I will note that I know very little about his game, but in broad strokes, he does appear to be the type of athletic, traditionally sized center this team hasn’t had on its roster this year. Still, he doesn’t look like he’s going to be some secret star or breakout contributor, according to our friends over at Bright Side of the Sun from their story when Jones was waived:
The 25-year-old Jones was signed to a 2-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Suns this November in hopes of shoring up the center rotation. His contract was set to become fully guaranteed on February 25th (Thursday).
He played in 14 total games averaging just 6.7 minutes per-game.
Jones tallied more fouls and turnovers (25) than points (22) in his 94 total minutes for Phoenix. He never looked comfortable in their system on either side of the floor, even in garbage time so this isn’t a shocker.
But all that noted, we should also point out that guys on 10-day deals almost never make a difference. Looking at Jones to be some savior, or to fix much that ails the Lakers — even with Anthony Davis out — is a mistake. While it would obviously be wonderful for the team if Jones could help, this is more likely them just taking a flyer on a guy as an extended tryout while conforming to league rules, and biding their time to further evaluate their options for their final two roster spots.
Lakers hard cap space down to $1.63M from $1.74M.— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) February 26, 2021
My feel is that they’ll cycle through another 10-day through March. By the time we get to buy-out season (late March/early April), the prorated minimum will be small enough for the Lakers to sign two players outright. https://t.co/9MizSJTvD7
And for whatever it’s worth, one of Jones’ agents, Austin Brown of CAA, also reps Kyle Kuzma, so there is familiarity between Pelinka and his reps, which is often a theme with guys brought in on 10-days in situations like this.
Jones will now have 10 days to prove himself with the Lakers, who can cut him at any time. They have four games in that stretch, although it seems unlikely that Jones plays significant minutes in any of them. The Lakers can sign him to a second 10-day contract when this one expires, but after that they’d have to either let him go or sign him for the rest of the season.
But long story short, as my friend Alex Regla noted succinctly in our Slack after Jones was signed, “the correct reaction to any 10 day is....it’s a 10 day.” We’ll see if Jones can be more than that, but this signing seems to be mostly just a procedural flyer for now. It’s not worth overreacting to one way or the other.