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James Jones opts out of contract but could still return to Heat

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LOS ANGELES CA - FEBRUARY 19:  James Jones of the Miami Heat competes in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest during NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Staples Center.  Jones went on to win the contest. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES CA - FEBRUARY 19: James Jones of the Miami Heat competes in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest during NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Staples Center. Jones went on to win the contest. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Sharpshooter and Miami native James Jones announced on Wednesday that he would opt out of the 2011-12 year of his contract and become a free agent.  He insisted that this decision did not mean he wouldn't be returning to play for the Heat next season and that his choice wasn't based on the fact that he lost his spot in the rotation during the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals. 

Only 30 years old, Jones said that he is doing this to "find the best situation for me", which could very well mean staying with Miami to pursue an NBA title.  For now, he has decided to pass up the $1.3 million that he would have been guaranteed had he not opted out of his deal with the Heat and for the second straight summer will test the free agent waters.

I can't say that I disagree with what JJ is doing.  He is coming off of a great year, hitting a career high 123 3-pointers on 42.9% shooting, so his value will be up.  Also, since Miami already bought out his original contract, Jones is going to make $1.7 million next season and $1.8 million in 2012-13 on top of whatever deal he may sign in the next few weeks, so its really a win-win situation for him.

In other Heat news, the team announced on Wednesday that they had tendered offers to three former draft picks.  This years pick, Norris Cole, along with Jarvis Varnado (2010) and Robert Dozier (2009) all received offers from Miami.  Only Cole's contract offer came with guaranteed money though.

Only the offer to Norris, the No. 28 selection in last week's NBA Draft, includes guaranteed money, at 80 percent of what the rookie scale will be in the next collective-bargaining agreement for a first-round draft pick at his slot.  Varnado, a 2010 second-round pick, and Dozier, a 2009 second-round selection, received non-guaranteed tender offers at the league-minimum.  The moves, in advance of a potential Friday start to an NBA lockout, allow the Heat to retain the NBA rights to each.