The Miami Herald is reporting that the Miami Heat have retained free agent sharpshooter and Miami native James Jones to a minimum contract for one year. After negotiating a buyout from his original contract with the Heat last month and being courted by other teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, he ultimately decided to take less money to play for his hometown much like Udonis Haslem did. Although Jones struggled throughout his first two years with the Heat which included a long layoff due to wrist surgery, he will have plenty of open looks at the basket from three-point range.
The Heat bought out the final three years of Jones' contract on June 30 - a deal that would have paid him $4.9 million next season. Instead, Jones will receive the $1 million veteran's minimum, as well as a $1.5 million buyout from that previous contract. The Heat will pay him buyout sums of $1.7 million and $1.9 million the following two seasons. "I still feel I have unfinished business here,'' Jones said. "Things didn't end the way I wanted them to end. The opportunity to win a championship was too much to pass up." Jones turned down more money elsewhere, including overtures from the Spurs. "I had offers out there, but Miami was the best place," he said. "Everyone knows how committed I am to winning." Jones, 29, appeared in just 36 games last season (six starts) and averaged 4.1 points and 1.3 rebounds, shooting 36.1 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from three-point range. "Hopefully," Jones said, "the minutes will be there and I'll make teams pay" if they leave him open.For new readers or those who may have missed it when it was first posted, here's an interview with Jones and Haslem I did a few months back. The Heat are apparently willing to keep several players from last season around in order to retain continuity and preserve team chemistry. Carlos Arroyo and Jamaal Magloire are now reported to be returning as well. The imminent signing of free agent forward Juwan Howard will give the Heat 13 players under contract and it's anyone's guess who gets those last two spots. I have to say I'm not too thrilled about Arroyo returning to the Heat. I have no huge issues with his play last season (except for the Boston Celtics series) but this team needs more youth and it would be a great chance to develop a player who can learn so much from playing with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James in practice and in games. Any number of players would have fit the bill such as Patrick Beverley, Kenny Hasbrouck, Da'Sean Butler, Jon Scheyer or a young player that has bounced around the league but still could develop into something special or at least serviceable. Perhaps that player won't magically become Rajon Rondo but we all know Arroyo's ceiling, he'll be a year older, doesn't have much of a three-point shot and he was out of the league for a reason before the Heat came around frantically looking for someone to help out at that position. How many past-their-prime guys do we need on the bench anyway? If there absolutely had to be a need for more veterans, the Heat should have recruited former Heat players Eddie House or Jason Williams who can at least be a threat out on the perimeter. We all know the names left that could nab the final spots on this roster. At least now it seems like we'll only have to wait a little bit more to see how it all plays out. UPDATE The Heat have now officially re-signed Jones: The Miami HEAT announced today that they have re-signed forward James Jones. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. "We are happy to bring back James Jones, whose abilities on and off the court epitomize what the HEAT organization stands for," said HEAT President Pat Riley. "He is a consummate professional and a proven three-point threat that will help stretch the floor. As our roster fills out, his ability to shoot the ball will be a valuable asset to our team." Jones has appeared in 366 career games (65 starts) over seven seasons. During his NBA career, with four different teams, he has averaged 6.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 18.9 minutes, while shooting 39.8 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from three-point range, and 86.1 percent from the foul line. He has scored in double-figures on 101 occasions, and has shot at least 82.0 percent from the foul line every season of his career. During the last two seasons with the HEAT, Jones appeared in 76 games (seven starts), averaging 4.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 14.9 minutes, while shooting 36.6 percent from the field, 37.6 percent from three-point range and 83.1 percent from the foul line. Jones originally signed with the HEAT as a free agent on July 9, 2008. He was waived by the club on June 29, 2010.