Jackson also identifies Atlanta as a potential suitor for Jones, which is something we’ve heard before. Shams Charania reported last week that Jones is expected to receive interest from the Hawks, Cavaliers, and Hornets, among other clubs.
Jones is coming off a season in which he averaged 8.5 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 59 games (23.3 MPG) for the eventual Eastern Conference champions. He’s also a strong perimeter defender, having held the opponents he guarded in 2019/20 to a field goal percentage of just 40.8%, according to Jackson.
Jones fell out of Miami’s rotation during the postseason, but Jackson explains that a number of factors played a part in that decision. Health was a big one, as Jones contracted COVID-19 in June, suffered a neck injury in a scary fall during the seeding games, then sprained his ankle in the first round of the playoffs. Erik Spoelstra‘s decision to ride veterans Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala as he shortened his rotation also helped push Jones out of the mix.
The Heat’s top priorities in free agency this fall figure to be re-signing Crowder and Goran Dragic to new deals, and it’s possible Jones’ role reduction in the playoffs will dampen his enthusiasm for a reunion with the club. If that’s the case, he should have plenty of options, as Charania’s and Jackson’s report suggest. His next contract seems unlikely to exceed the mid-level, so over-the-cap teams will be in play.
While I expect Jones to generate interest from some playoff teams, it’s probably not a coincidence that all of his reported suitors so far are younger clubs coming off lottery seasons. At age 23, the former UNLV standout projects to be one of the NBA’s youngest unrestricted free agents this offseason, and he’ll likely have a better chance of playing a regular role on a roster that’s not loaded with veterans.