Miami signs free agent guard Jones

Updated: August 9, 2004, 12:14 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MIAMI -- The Miami Heat found a backcourt complement to Dwyane Wade, signing free agent guard Damon Jones on Friday.

Jones, a six-year veteran, averaged 7 points and 5.8 assists per game for the Milwaukee Bucks last season. He averaged 10 points and 7.4 assists in the playoffs.

Wade started at point for the Heat last season and the team signed free agent point guard Keyon Dooling last month, shortly after obtaining Shaquille O'Neal in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 22-year-old Wade averaged 16.2 points in the regular season and 18.0 points in 13 playoff games as a rookie last season.

Terms of Jones' contract were not disclosed, but the Miami Herald reports it is a two-year deal which will pay him $2.5 million for the upcoming season.

Jones put together his finest season in the league last season, ranking fourth in the league with an average of 11.4 assists per 48 minutes while playing in all 82 regular-season games with the Bucks. He was second with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.64 to 1.

Jones was second on his team in 3-pointers with 98 and established career-highs in many categories, including scoring average (7.0), rebounds (170) and assists (478).

The 27-year-old raised his level of play in the postseason, averaging 10.0 points, 7.4 assists and 4.0 rebounds in Milwaukee's opening-round series against the eventual NBA champion Detroit Pistons.

"We are extremely fortunate and pleased to be able to sign the top-rated guard in the playoffs to a contract," Heat president Pat Riley said. "We feel his playmaking abilities, shooting and experience will complement our team and help us accomplish our goals. It's another great signing for the Heat."

While their backcourt has been solidified, the Heat continue to have a shortage of forwards after dealing Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant to the Los Angeles Lakers for superstar center Shaquille O'Neal in July.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.

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