Clippers Sign Derrick Jones Jr. to Three-Year, $30 Million Deal

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The Los Angeles Clippers have bolstered their roster by signing forward Derrick Jones Jr. to a three-year, $30 million deal, shortly after announcing they would not re-sign Paul George.

 

In a strategic move, the Los Angeles Clippers have signed forward Derrick Jones Jr. to a three-year, $30 million deal, using the non-taxpayer midlevel exception. This signing comes in the wake of the Clippers’ announcement that they would not be re-signing Paul George as a free agent. The addition of Jones is seen as a strong, albeit not equal, replacement for George on the wing.

Jones is fresh off a career year with the Dallas Mavericks, where he played a crucial role in their journey to the NBA Finals. After signing a veterans minimum deal with Dallas last summer, Jones started a career-high 66 games and all 22 playoff games. His defensive versatility was on full display as he guarded top-tier perimeter players throughout the Mavericks’ playoff run, including George himself. This defensive prowess makes Jones a valuable asset for the Clippers, allowing Kawhi Leonard to focus more on being a help defender.

Offensively, however, the gap between George and Jones is significant. Jones averaged a career-high 8.6 points per game last season, a stark contrast to George’s 22.6 points per game. Jones is not known for his ball-handling skills and has historically struggled with three-point shooting, though he did show improvement during the playoffs, hitting 37% from beyond the arc.

The Clippers will need to rely heavily on Leonard and James Harden for shot creation. Harden, who recently agreed to a new two-year deal, saw his usage rate drop to 21% last season. Leonard’s health remains a concern; he played 68 games last season, the most since 2016-17, but was still sidelined for four games during the Clippers’ first-round playoff loss to the Mavericks.

The Clippers could explore trading Russell Westbrook, who picked up his player option over the weekend, to address their offensive needs further. If they manage to move an expiring contract without taking back salary, they might have the financial flexibility to add another scorer like DeMar DeRozan or Klay Thompson via sign-and-trade. Such an addition would bolster their offense and enhance Jones’ value as a defensive specialist.

 

 

 

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