James Jones

Suns hire NBA veteran James Jones for front office position

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James Jones spent 14 years in the NBA, was a trusted sidekick of LeBron James and with that has been to seven straight NBA Finals had has three rings. It’s been a good career, one where he was back in the Finals with the Cavaliers last season.

Now he’s stepping out of that uniform — and into a suit. Or, at least a pair of khakis and a Phoenix Suns’ polo shirt.

On Wednesday the Suns announced that they have extended the deal of general manager Ryan McDonough, and created a new role in the organization for Jones, the new Vice President of Basketball Operations.

“James has a wealth of experiences that will greatly benefit our organization,” McDonough said in a statement. “He is a three-time NBA Champion and has been one of the top executives with the National Basketball Players Association over the past few years. We welcome ‘Champ’ and his family to our Phoenix Suns family.”

Jones has a good basketball mind and can help the Suns evaluate both players in the league now and college guys coming up. At the press conference announcing the moves the Suns as an organization preached patience and development, things Jones can help with (if they stick to that plan, the Suns don’t always stick to the plan).

Also, make no mistake this is part of the “we’re going to make a run at LeBron next summer” potential in Phoenix. The Suns often swing for the fences, have the ability to have max cap space (moving Brandon Knight or Tyson Chandler for an expiring contract would help), and they can boast a good young core of Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, and Alex Len. I wouldn’t move the Suns to the top of the list of likely LeBron landing spots, but Jones may at least get them a meeting. The Suns are smart to put themselves in position to go after him, and if not him pitch other big time free agents next summer — Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Isaiah Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins and more.

Report: LeBron James frustrated with Cavaliers’ offseason

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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The Cavaliers have had a dud of an offseason.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert ousted general manager David Griffin just before the draft and didn’t offer enough money to lure Chauncey Billups as a replacement. Cleveland still hasn’t named a long-term front-office leader.

In the meantime, the Cavaliers have made a few low-key moves – signing Jose Calderon, Jeff Green and Cedi Osman and re-signing Kyle Korver. They reportedly won’t re-sign James Jones. They didn’t get Jamal Crawford or trade for Jimmy Butler or Paul George.

LeBron James noticed.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

LeBron James, the NBA’s most powerful player and biggest star who brought the Cleveland Cavaliers their first NBA championship, is concerned about the Cavaliers’ offseason, a person close to the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

Expecting an aggressive offseason approach that would close the gap on the champion Golden State Warriors, James soon found his anticipation and optimism diminished after Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert dismantled the front office, declining days before the draft and free agency to bring back general manager David Griffin and vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden.

Gilbert’s decision left the Cavs without the franchise’s top two front-office execs at a critical time, and it left James frustrated and concerned about the team’s ability to put together a roster that can better compete with Golden State, the person with direct knowledge of James’ thinking told USA TODAY Sports.

So, Los Angeles, huh?

LeBron is not shy about pressuring Gilbert. The Cavs’ payroll is high, but the roster lags well behind the Warriors. Cleveland hasn’t used its full mid-level exception, and without someone authorized to take long-term control of the front office, nobody has the vision to go after the league’s available stars like Butler and George. With the Cavaliers’ championship window still open, this was a terrible time to stall.

And, of course, LeBron can be a free agent next summer. There’s still time to make amends and/or hope the Lakers look less appealing than they do on paper now, though others suitors will race out of the woodwork if LeBron shows any inclination of leaving.

It seems the Cavs are doing a decent job of alienating their superstar and giving other teams hope.

Report: James Jones not returning to Cavaliers

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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LeBron James and James Jones have played the last seven years together, with the Heat then Cavaliers. LeBron even once said he, Jones and Mike Miller were the real big three.

But it appears LeBron’s run with Jones is ending.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

A source close to the Cavs said Jones would not be back in 2016-17. Jones’ agent, Joel Bell, said neither the team nor Jones had made a decision about his return.

Jones turns 37, and he’s increasingly less capable of helping on the court. He’s still a good 3-point shooter and locker room presence, but the Cavs already have plenty of both. They’d be better off using his roster spot on someone younger and more defensive-oriented.

Of course, LeBron isn’t required to agree. He’s already displeased how the Cavaliers let go general manager David Griffin and reportedly not recruiting free agents this summer. Los Angeles looms in the distance.

Winning cures all ills, and if the Cavs replace Jones with someone who helps them win a title, LeBron will get over any dissatisfaction. But the expectations are that high, and the Warriors are a behemoth. Even the optimal Jones replacement might still leave Cleveland falling short.

At that point, if Jones wanted to return, might this be another move that pushes LeBron out the door?

Perfection averted: Cavaliers stand up to Warriors in Game 4 win

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CLEVELAND – Draymond Green got a technical foul or two. Richard Jefferson got in the face of an again-squatting Stephen Curry. Dahntay Jones received a tech for talking smack to Kevin Durant from the bench. LeBron James and Durant jawed at each other. Zaza Pachulia punched Iman Shumpert in the nuts.

And that was just during stoppages.

The Cavaliers beat the Warriors, 137-116, in an action-packed Game 4 Friday to trim Golden State’s NBA Finals lead to 3-1.

One year after becoming the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, is Cleveland on its way to becoming the first team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in any NBA series? We’ll learn more in Game 5 Monday in Oakland.

For now, the Cavaliers should be content to prolong the series, ruin what could have been the first perfect postseason in NBA history and put their own names in the record book.

The Cavs scored 49 points in the first quarter (a Finals record for any quarter) and 86 points in the first half (a playoff record for a first half in at least the shot-clock era). They made 24-of-45 3-pointers (53%), making Finals records set just four days ago already seem quaint. Their 137 total points were the most in a Finals game since 1987.

And they sure stunted while lighting up the scoreboard.

Behind it all was sound execution from a team that dared try to just outscore the Warriors in an offensive duel – and won.

LeBron (31 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving (40 points, seven rebounds and four assists) were again outstanding. Unlike Game 3, they had help.

Kevin Love (23 points, five rebounds and two steals) looked like a true third star and continued to play actively.

Tristan Thompson (10 rebounds and five assists), with Kardashians in the house, finally showed up.

The Warriors, now 15-1 in the playoffs, failed to clinch the first perfect postseason in NBA history. What could have been the first line in their case as the greatest team of all-time is now null. They won’t get to re-coat the visiting locker room here in champagne smell.

But they can still win their second title in three years at home Sunday and, in a “light years ahead” move, make a ton of money doing it.

Golden State is still in the driver’s seat, but the Cavs gave the 2017 postseason one more thrilling night and a reason to wonder: Can they do it again?

Watch 36-year-old James Jones throw down a putback dunk vs. the Celtics (VIDEO)

AP
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LeBron James is on his way to his 7th-straight Finals after the Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics, 135-102, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night.

The game was out of hand from the beginning, with the Cavaliers scoring a franchise playoff high 75 points in the first half.

At one point in the fourth quarter, Tyronn Lue emptied out his bench and we got to see some of the Cavaliers garbage time guys get run. One of those guys was James Jones, 36, who has been around so long he was a rookie with Reggie Miller in Indiana.

He also dunked!

Via Twitter:

Let’s all just bask in the glory that is that putback dunk and in our little vacation until the Finals start on June 1.