When last we saw Jared Cunningham, he was riding the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers last season — he played just 89 minutes as a reserve guard — until in January they traded him in a salary dump to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers promptly waived him.
Now Cunningham is going to get a chance to make the roster of the team that drafted him No. 24 overall back in 2012 (then quickly traded him to Dallas), the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Shams Charania of Real GM had the news.
This is a non-guaranteed training camp deal, Cunningham is going to have to earn his way onto the roster.
Which is not going to be easy. He’s an undersized shooting guard who doesn’t shoot well, a career 36.4 percent shooter overall and 30 percent from three (he doesn’t have the handles to run the point or be a playmaker at the NBA level, either). He came into the league raw, a guy who had been able to get by on his athleticism but now was going to have to sharpen his skills, and that has not happened.
The Cavaliers have open roster spots, but they are deep at guard: Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, Mo Williams, Matthew Dellavedova, James Jones, and they could re-sign J.R. Smith still. It seems unlikely Cunningham will get into that mix, but he’ll get his shot.
The Cavs still have deals to make with Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova and J.R. Smith, but in the meantime, they’re quietly making moves to keep their depth at the end of the bench. On Thursday, they agreed to a deal to re-sign veteran forward James Jones.
From Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Small forward James Jones has reached an agreement on a one-year deal to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, league sources informed Northeast Ohio Media Group.
The contract, according to one source, is for the veteran’s minimum. The paperwork was faxed Thursday to Jones, who is in Florida with family. The contract is expected to be signed and finalized as early as Friday.
Jones isn’t a huge part of the Cavs’ rotation at this point, but he’s a beloved teammate and he’s still capable of coming in, playing spot minutes and knocking down three-pointers. For the veteran’s minimum, there’s nothing not to like about this signing.
The Cavaliers are facing a little more difficulty than anticipated with re-signing Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith
But James Jones should present no such issues.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
“I’ll be back in Cleveland for sure,” Jones told the Northeast Ohio Media Group Sunday in Las Vegas, on the red carpet for the first Players’ Awards show.
“I’ve made it well known last year when I told them I was coming to help change the culture and do something special,” Jones said. “It wasn’t a situation where I was looking for a platform to move on. I was looking to be a part of something, to build something. And so I’m still in.”
A league source confirmed the Cavs would re-sign Jones.
Cleveland can pay Jones up to $ 1,799,024 next season – 120% the minimum salary – thanks to his Non-Bird Rights (technically a form of bird rights). That should do the trick.
It will cost Cleveland multiple times over in luxury-tax payments, but so would signing someone else instead. Might as well keep a player LeBron James values.
Jones found a role for the Cavaliers in the playoffs as a stretch four. Obviously, Kevin Love will provide that dimension if healthy.
But that Jones earned a spot in Cleveland’s postseason rotation is telling. David Blatt is clearly more comfortable with Jones than other veterans on last year’s roster.
The Cavaliers should be healthier and deeper next season, which means they won’t have to lean as heavily on Jones. That bodes well for Cleveland, and Jones can still make 3-pointers in spot duty.