In a somewhat surprising move, Heat forward James Jones has decided to decline his $1.4 million player option for the 2011-12 season and will become a unrestricted free agent.
The news was initially reported by the Miami Herald early Wednesday afternoon.
Many must be wondering why the sharp-shooter would want to leave his hometown roots and a legitimate chance to win multiple championships. The first thought is he must have felt disrespected after not playing in the Heat’s final nine playoff games. And this came after a Philadelphia series in which he shot 42 percent from three and a Boston series where he shot 47 percent from downtown.
Although that may be true, let’s dig deeper.
Jones is 30 and has given 8 years to this league. The NBA minimum salary for a player of his tenure next season will be in the range of $1.3 million (We don’t know for sure with the CBA expiring).
There is a chance he could return to the Heat for the veteran’s minimum, but on a multiyear deal, which would give him more financial security. Essentially he would be forfeiting around $100,000 in season one, but would get more years, which in result would equate to more “safe dollars”.
What if he were to get hurt on his one-year option? There’s no certainty as to what’s going on in his head, but this is a plausible scenario. Remember, Jones is a smart guy, a finance major from the University of Miami and Treasurer for the NBA Player’s Union.
Another scenario is he thinks he can get a multi-year deal elsewhere, paying him substantially more money than Miami ever could. With Miami in dire need of a post presence, and with limited or no dollars, it would be unlikely for them to offer him anything more than the minimum.
However, with the Heat still writing checks to Jones for last season’s buyout, will money be the determining factor? He still is due $1.7 million for next season and $1.8 million from the Heat in 2012-13.
Although there is a good chance Jones will take his talents north of Miami, we shouldn’t rule out Jones returning for another run at a ring in a Heat uniform.
The following is via Ethan Skolnik of the Palm Beach Post
So there you have it. The door is not closed.