Clippers Sign Jones For Rest Of Season
NEW YORK – Head coach Doc Rivers announced that the Clippers will keep Dahntay Jones for the rest of the season.
A decision had to be made on Jones, as the Nets game Monday night was set to be the final game of his second 10-day contract. Rivers said before the game, and before Jones knew of his future, that the team would keep Jones.
“I haven’t told him yet,” Rivers said to the media. “You can break the news.”
Needless to say, Jones was excited when he found out he’d be staying with the Clippers the remainder of the year.
“That’s the first word I’ve heard of it,” Jones said in the locker room before the game, “and I’m happy.”
Jones can thank his energy for that.
He’s only played 29 minutes in nine games of action, taking seven shots and hitting two of them for four points.
But the changes on the bench go beyond statistics, having provided a spark for the Clippers. While playing just one minute against the Nets, Jones drew a charge as Brooklyn got in transition. Even when Jones isn’t playing, he’s typically up off his seat and the first one clapping and getting his team engaged.
“You just keep things in perspective,” Jones said. “Along my journey, I’ve learned you can’t take any day for granted. You have to treat every game as if it’s your last, and I’m trying to relay that to these guys.”
The Clippers are 8-3 since signing Jones and were nearly 9-2 before losing late in Brooklyn.
“He’s a pro,” Rivers said. “I think the veterans and the other guys on the team understand that, and they listen.”
Even when the energy or emotions seem to be down, the 34-year-old guard tends to be up. As Jones said, that’s just what a teammate is supposed to do.
“They’re happy for their teammates, they’re cheering them on, they’re trying to help them out any way possible and just bring spirit to a bench that seemed a little dead and disinterested at times,” Jones said. “It’s just what I’ve been doing my whole career. Even in the D-League, I said before, I’m cheering my teammates on, I want the best for them, I’m trying to help them out as much as possible. I try to bring an atmosphere on the bench that’s conducive to winning.”
Prior to joining the Clippers for their six-point win at Portland on Jan. 14, Jones was in the NBA Development League playing for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, where C.J. Wilcox played earlier this season. Wilcox was one of the first to congratulate Jones upon hearing he’d be staying with the Clippers, immediately after Jones found out.
Jones had played in 19 D-League game, starting 15 of them, where he averaged 14.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game, while shooting 53.7 percent from the floor. After playing with the uncertainty of 10-day contracts, he said he feels a lot better to have something more secure.
“It’s a tough deal on the 10 days, and you never know what your future is,” Jones said. “But I’m still going to bring it every day, still going to work every day to help this team out any way possible. Right now my role is more helping on the bench and helping guys out, but hopefully I can get on the court and provide service in that respect too.”
Jones said he’s still in the process of learning what Rivers likes, both offensively and defensively, but he’s picking things up as the season moves along.
“It’s been great being here so far,” Jones said. “The guys are great, Doc’s been amazing, coaching staff’s awesome. It’s just very positive. Things are going in the right direction.”