In the sign-and-trade deal, which included the San Antonio Spurs, too, Cleveland brought in the sharpshooter in Strus, and sent out future second-round picks to Miami and San Antonio. The Cavaliers dealt Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens to the Spurs as well, which facilitated the transaction.
Following that move, and ultimately their re-signing of Caris LeVert on Friday and signing of Georges Niang shortly thereafter then, Cleveland brought in big Damian Jones via trade from the Utah Jazz. As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on Saturday, Cleveland is simply absorbing Jones’ $2.6 million contract for next season in exchange for Jones; the deal will become official on July 7.
So, what are the Cavs getting in Jones?
Jones is a player who has bounced around in his NBA tenure, but he does have a defensive skill set that could aid the Cavs and this move should help Cleveland’s big man depth.
Jones’ counting stats are not going to wow anybody, as last season with the Los Angeles Lakers and then Utah Jazz (who acquired him via deadline trade), he had averages of 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.6 minutes per outing overall.
Although, in 73 games across the 2020-21 and 2021-22 campaigns with the Sacramento Kings, with more of a consistent role in their rotation, he posted 7.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per contest. In that stretch, he registered 0.9 blocks per game as well.
That last tidbit is the key here with this Jones acquisition, frankly.
The Cavaliers needed to bring in a backup big who can play some 5 man minutes, and a player that has looked to have been proven depth to have behind the likes of Jarrett Allen and/or Evan Mobley, for spurts, realistically. The 6-foot-11 Jones can help Cleveland to some degree as a rotational rim protector, and will be an upgrade to some degree over Robin Lopez at this stage.
His activity and 7-foot-4 wingspan helps alter shots in the paint, and Jones does play with urgency and high hands to deter passes over the top in pick-and-roll coverage, which could make a difference in rotational stretches for Cleveland’s defense. He’s had 1.7 blocks per-36 minutes for his career over seven seasons.
Now, Jones is no stranger to fouls, as he’s had 2.1 per contest over his career, and a whopping 5.2 fouls per-36 minutes. That’s limited his playing time, to some extent, and offensively, he’s not going to be a jump shooting presence in his minutes.
However, for the Cavaliers, with Jones’ interior activity on defense, rolling and screening and presence as a lob threat, he does bring more legitimacy to Cleveland’s backup big rotation.
In addition, Jones is a two-time NBA champ, back with the Golden State Warriors early on in his career, and he’s had his share of time around winning players, which is always meaningful.
The 28-year-old Jones wasn’t a pickup that blew Cavs fans away, and nor will Cleveland’s recent signing of reserve guard Ty Jerome via two-year, $5 million deal (per a report from Wojnarowski).
Regardless, both guys can help the Cavaliers in small roles, and at least with Jones, his energy play and interior skill set can aid Cleveland in spurts come the playoffs. He has converted on 66.2 percent of his career shot attempts, also, so the finishing is there, albeit on low volume.