Jones signs deal with Napoli

Updated: October 15, 2009, 9:38 AM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Veteran guard Damon Jones, who made a habit over the years of calling himself the "best shooter in the world," is going international.

After playing sparingly last season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Jones has signed a one-year deal with Napoli in Italy's top division, according to agent Andy Bountogianis of Cleveland-based Mark Termini Associates.

Damon Jones

Jones

In his second stint with Milwaukee, Jones did not join the team until late December after a mutual agreement with the Bucks for Jones to search for a new team via trade. When no trade could be struck and buyout talks stalled, Jones spent the final four months of the season with the Bucks to complete the four-year, $16 million contract he received from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2005.

Jones wound up appearing in just 18 games in 2008-09, but the career 39-percent shooter from 3-point range -- never shy about talking up his abilities from deep -- was targeted by Napoli president Gaetano Papalia for his long-range prowess and his showmanship.

The 33-year-old landed his Cleveland contract after a breakout season with the Miami Heat in 2004-05 when he averaged a career-best 11.7 points per game and shot 43.2 percent from 3-point range. Jones' standout moment with the Cavs came in his first season with them, when he came in cold off the bench in overtime in Game 6 of Cleveland's first-round series against Washington and hit a baseline jumper to eliminate the Wizards on their home floor.

"Damon Jones, self-proclaimed Best Shooter in the Universe, hit a dagger," Cleveland's LeBron James said that night.

It's believed that Jones decided to seize this opportunity to grab a firm offer in one of Europe's top leagues as opposed to holding out for another NBA job, with numerous veteran guards still searching for roster spots at a time when many teams around the league are looking to carry 14 or even 13 players as opposed to the maximum 15.

Other guards still available in free agency include Earl Boykins, Greg Buckner, Troy Hudson, Bobby Jackson, Brevin Knight, Tyronn Lue, Stephon Marbury, Rashad McCants, Jerry Stackhouse, Jamaal Tinsley and Jacque Vaughn.

Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics