At almost exactly midnight eastern last night, the major newsbreakers reported that the Clippers had agreed to sign wing Derrick Jones Jr. to a 3 year, $30M deal, pivoting right away after losing Paul George.

Jones is a 6’6, 210 pound, 27-year-old wing who has played eight seasons in the NBA for the Suns, Heat, Trailblazers, Bulls, and most recently the Mavericks. Jones had a breakout season for the Mavs, setting career highs in games played (76), games started (66), minutes per game (23.5), points per game (8.6), and three-point shooting (34.3%).

Jones is mostly known for his defense and his athleticism. The Clippers are very familiar with both after their encounter with him in the first round of the playoffs this year, where he absolutely locked up Paul George. Jones’ defensive versatility played a key role in the Mavs’ run to the NBA Finals, as his minutes per game rose to 29.4 to take on defensive assignments including George, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Anthony Edwards, and Jayson Tatum.

This is a good deal for the Clippers, who get a quality 5th starter/key reserve on a very reasonable contract. Jones will be on the Clippers through his age 30 season, and will instantly be the best point of attack defender and most athletic wing on the roster. Jones’ offense is a bit more limited, as he’s a fairly low-volume, middling percentage three point shooter, but he’s a great finisher on cuts and in transition. Still, he’s a great fit next to ball-dominant players like James Harden and Kawhi Leonard, as he’s more then happy to “do the dirty work”.

What does this mean for the Clippers’ roster building? Well, Jones is not a power forward. Right now, I’d pencil him into the starting lineup as either the shooting guard or small forward spot, alongside James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Ivica Zubac. Maybe the Clippers go out and get a power forward and he slides to the two. Or maybe the Clippers open up a training camp competition for the starting role between Jones, Terance Mann, and Norm Powell. There are pros and cons to each, though it’s tough to go too in-depth until the rest of the roster is finalized.

The Clippers used most of their non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.9M) on Derrick Jones, meaning they have the rest of that exception, the biannual exception ($4.7M), and then minimum slots to fill out the rest of their roster. However, I would anticipate multiple trades still, so a lot can still change. Stay tuned!

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