The Los Angeles Lakers brought in athletic big man Damian Jones on a 10-day contract after the waiving of Quinn Cook. That deal expired during the NBA All-Star break, but Jones was able to play in three games with L.A. beforehand.
In those three games — including one in the starting lineup — Jones had some impressive moments and caught the attention of several Lakers teammates. In total, he’s scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds and four blocks. In addition, he has yet to miss a shot for the Lakers from the field or the free-throw line.
The Lakers front office were clearly happy with what they saw, as Jones is reportedly being signed to another 10-day contract on Thursday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Lakers intend to sign center Damian Jones to a second 10-day contract on Thursday, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 10, 2021
This was always a move that made perfect sense for L.A. With the trade deadline coming on March 25, the Lakers will not even have buyout market players available until after that day passes. Signing Jones to a contract on Thursday means he will remain with the team until March 21, lining up perfectly with that deadline.
In addition, the uncertainty surrounding the return of Anthony Davis will allow Jones to maintain a solid role in the first few games after the All-Star break.
From March 11-21, the Lakers play six games. They’ll face the Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns. By then, Davis could be back and the trade and buyout market will begin to take shape.
At this point, it seems unlikely that Jones will be signed again after his second 10-day expires, but he’ll get a few more chances to prove that he’s the best option on the market.
Kuzma believes Jones will have chance to stay
After Jones’ debut with the Lakers, forward Kyle Kuzma raved about the big man. He said that continued play like that could get him a rest-of-season contract. “Man, I think he’s got a shot to be here if he can just do what he did out there,” Kuzma said. “Be a lob threat, got a big-time block.”
“I don’t know how many minutes he played — might’ve been seven or eight — but had three rebounds in that time, and that’s a good rebounding rate. If he can do those things in small stints he’s got a chance to be here.”
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