Cavaliers, Jones reach four-year, $16.1M deal

Updated: September 8, 2005, 6:18 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Damon Jones is ready to give the Cleveland Cavaliers something they've needed: a top 3-point shooter.

Damon Jones
Jones

Jones passed his physical Thursday after agreeing to a four-year, $16.1 million contract.

In acquiring Jones, who made 225 3-pointers for the Miami Heat last season, the Cavaliers took another step in their effort to avoid missing the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season. Jones ranked fifth in the NBA last season in 3-point accuracy, making 43 percent of his attempts. Cleveland was ranked 27th in that category.

With Miami, his deep range forced defenses to come out and guard him, making All-Stars Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade harder to stop. The Cavs hope the perimeter threat Jones provides will open things up in a similar way for LeBron James and his supporting cast.

"It's no pressure at all," Jones said. "I think I'm one of the top five shooters in the world. I love to shoot the basketball. I work on my shot a lot."

Coach Mike Brown will have to choose between Jones and veteran Eric Snow for his starter at point guard.

"There is no competition between me and Eric Snow," Jones said. "We're working together to win basketball games. The only thing that matters is that after each game the Cleveland Cavaliers will have won and the other team loses."

Jones' signing will finish off what was left of the $28 million the Cavaliers began the summer with to spend on free agents. The club had previously signed guard Larry Hughes (five years, $60 million), center Zydrunas Ilgauskas (five years, $50 million) and forward Donyell Marshall (four years, $22 million).

Jones, 29, has not been with one team for more than one season since beginning his NBA career with New Jersey in 1998. He's also played for Boston, Golden State, Dallas, Vancouver, Detroit and Milwaukee.

He averaged 11.6 points and 4.3 assists in 82 games -- 66 starts -- last season. It appeared he might re-sign with the Heat after prized free agent Michael Finley passed on Miami and signed instead with San Antonio. But the Cavs general manager Danny Ferry was persistent and offered a longer contract than Miami was willing to give.

One lingering concern for Ferry is to find another big man now that 6-11 forward/center Anderson Varejao is out indefinitely.

The Brazilian had arthroscopic surgery Sept. 2 to repair his dislocated right shoulder. He injured it contesting a rebound in the final minutes of Brazil's 96-94 loss to the United States last month at a World Championship qualifying tournament in the Dominican Republic.

Without salary cap space, Ferry can only sign a player to a minimum contract unless he can make a trade.

"We're in the same position now as are a lot of other teams," Ferry said.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press