In a bit of pre-playoffs housecleaning, the Clippers waived Josh Primo today and simultaneously signed Kai Jones to a multi-year deal. Jones will fill their last roster spot heading into the playoffs, and because he has not appeared in an NBA game for another team this season, I think he can technically log minutes in the playoffs.

For everyone getting excited about the signing, a bit of cold water. Jones will have almost no time to practice with the team, and has played in just 67 total NBA games, may of them “garbage time” appearances. It is extraordinarily unlikely he is called to do anything in the playoffs outside of fill in garbage time. This is not a move for this playoff run.

Jones, a 6’11, 220 pound big man with a lot of vertical pop, was selected 19th in the 2021 Draft (Primo was 10th), but played limited minutes for the Hornets during his two-year tenure before being waived this fall after erratic behavior and social media posts. Jones has since talked about his mental health with Shams Charania of the Athletic. I’m not a huge fan of Jones on the court, but he’s probably shown more and been more productive than Primo in their professional experiences.

As for Primo, this is the end of his frankly bizarre tenure with the Clippers (for now, anyway – Law Murray has indicated the Clippers could still be interested in him). Primo was a controversial signing after allegations of indecent exposure, and the confusion was compounded when the Clippers signed him to a full deal instead of a two-way in November. Primo played just 10 minutes in the NBA this year, and his G-League numbers were solid though unextraordinary. I’m still not sure why they converted his two-way to a full deal, nor why they’d still have any interest in him, but who knows.

As for Jones, while his deal is “multiyear”, my guess would be that any years he’s signed for after this one are non-guaranteed or with very, very light guarantees. The Clippers want to get him in their program, see what he’s like, and add him to their Summer Camp roster. If that all goes well, maybe he works his way into a spot on next year’s team, as both Mason Plumlee and Daniel Theis are free agents.

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