With so many players dealing with injuries in recent weeks, particularly in the frontcourt, the Los Angeles Lakers turned to Damian Jones to fill significant minutes despite being on a 10-day contract.
Jones had already signed two 10-day contracts though with the second expiring this weekend, and he was not eligible for a third, leaving a rest-of-season contract or letting him go as the only options for the Lakers. Jones has more than three years of NBA service time, so he is not eligible to be signed to a two-way contract.
Jones has been solid in his short time with the Lakers, averaging 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting an incredible 94.1 percent from the field, most of which were dunks, in 14.0 minutes across eight games.
After losing both Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee in the offseason, the Lakers lacked a true verticle threat, which Jones has provided them with. He has also given them an extra big body while Anthony Davis continues to recover from a calf and Achilles injury.
Despite that though, Dan Woike of the L.A. Times is reporting that the Lakers will not be signing him for the rest of the season:
Sources say the Lakers are not re-signing center Damian Jones for the rest of the season after his second 10-day contract expired. Jones has been a fill-in starter and played well, but hard cap, roster limitations win out in the end.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 21, 2021
With the March 25 trade deadline just around the corner, the Lakers now have two open roster spots to make additions on the buyout market. They have been linked to a number of centers, with Andre Drummond being the best possibility and also most likely if he is bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
They fill a similar role as Jones though, so it would not be surprising to see the Lakers address other needs as well.
James out indefinitely with high ankle sprain
In what has been a difficult season for the Lakers due to injuries and health and safety protocols, they now face their toughest challenge yet after LeBron James went down with a high ankle sprain in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
It’s unclear how long James will be out, but the Lakers will have to manage without both him and Davis for some time, which won’t be easy to do in a loaded Western Conference.
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