Miami Heat: James Jones Declines Option, Yet Still Open to Return

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Miami Heat: James Jones Declines Option, Yet Still Open to Return
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In a somewhat surprising move, Miami 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 31 and has given eight 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 multi-year 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 that he may think 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 Miami to offer him anything more than the minimum.

Although there is a good chance Jones will take his talents north of Miami, we shouldn’t rule out the chance of Jones returning for another run at a ring in a Heat uniform.

The following is via Ethan Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post

I reached Jones shortly after the report.

The defending Three-Point Shootout champion, who has been spending the offseason at his house in Broward County, said he reached the decision Wednesday morning.

“I haven’t closed the door,” Jones said of returning to Miami for a fourth season.

“This is really just about having options. As a veteran, with the opportunity to become a free agent right now, and explore all my options, I just felt at this stage of my career, it was too important to pass up.”

So there you have it. The door is far from closed.

Follow me on Twitter at @MiaSportsGuy

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