Mavs View Derrick Jones Jr. As ‘Priority’ To Re-Sign In Free Agency

Derrick Jones Jr, Dallas Mavericks, NBA Rumors
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The Dallas Mavericks are tasked with needing to put the right pieces in place around Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving after an NBA Finals run to hopefully return in 2024-25 with the necessary roster to come out as champions next June.

Mavericks general manager Nico Harrison has emphasized the importance of re-signing Derrick Jones Jr. as a critical priority for the team during his media exit interview.

“I don’t know how we’re going to do it, but he’s a priority… He’s priority one, 1A and 1B,” Harrison said. “I think he fits in with our team. He loves it here and we have to figure out obviously the dynamics to get him to stay. But that’s a priority, and we’ll do what we have to do to get it done.”

Jones signed with the Mavericks on a one-year, $2.7 million veteran’s minimum contract to showcase his impact alongside Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. After emerging as a full-time starter in March, he started all 22 playoff games for Dallas.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Derrick Jones Jr, Dallas Mavericks Updates

Jones is the only Mavericks starter from their Finals run without a contract for the 2024-25 season, with Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, PJ Washington, and Daniel Gafford all being signed through at least next season.

Jones’ agent, Aaron Turner, expressed his client’s desire to return to Dallas for another season. “He loves his teammates, he loves Jason Kidd, he really likes the front office, Nico and (assistant general manager) Matt Riccardi,” Turner told The Athletic’s Tim Cato. “He wants to be back.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Derrick Jones Jr, Dallas Mavericks Updates

The Mavericks could need to be creative to position themselves appropriately to re-sign Jones. They are currently limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception worth $5.2 million and would need to shed salary to open the full $12.9 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception. One option would be to trade Tim Hardaway Jr., who is entering the final season of his contract, which features an annual descending salary.

The Mavericks must weigh the pros and cons of their overall steps to re-sign Jones, though. Suppose the team wants to take a bigger swing at the trade market. In that case, they might need to leverage Hardaway’s contract as a salary-matching mechanism, making it difficult to add talent while reducing payroll in the process.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Derrick Jones Jr, Dallas Mavericks Updates

The Mavericks’ current messaging communicates their strong motivation to re-sign Jones, which is understandable. He often guards the opposition’s best perimeter player and doesn’t complain about how many shots he gets. His athleticism is also rare, presenting a real threat as a cutter and transition threat despite having an inconsistent three-point shot.

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