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Western Conference Contender Signing Former First-Round Big

Apr 7, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Kai Jones (23) shoes during the second quarter against the Houston Rocketsat the Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Los Angeles Clippers are signing center Kai Jones to a multi-year deal. Charania also mentions that Jones is eligible for the team’s postseason roster. Jones recently signed a 10-day contract with the Philadelphia 76ers but only played for the team’s G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. In a corresponding move, the Clippers waived wing Joshua Primo.

Jones had spent the last two seasons with the Charlotte Hornets. However, the team waived him in October due to multiple showings of “bizarre behavior on social media.” The Texas alum has not played in an NBA game in over a year.

Prior to the team signing Daniel Theis in November, the Clippers reportedly showed interest in acquiring Jones. According to Jake Fischer, senior NBA reporter for Yahoo Sports, the Clippers brought Jones in for a workout. However, Fischer says Jones did not “appear to be in mental or physical condition to be playing an NBA game” at the time.

Western Conference Contender Signing Former First-Round Big

Why the Los Angeles Clippers Signed Kai Jones

Jones likely will not receive much playing time, if any, this season. He is eligible for the postseason, but the Clippers already have enough centers. In addition to starting center Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles has Mason Plumlee and Theis rostered. Furthermore, the team is not dealing with any injuries at the center position. However, Plumlee and Theis are both unrestricted free agents this summer. Additionally, Zubac only has one year remaining on his contract after this season. Signing Jones to a multi-year contract gives the team flexibility beyond this season. He may not crack the rotation now, but being a part of the team at this point ensures he becomes familiar with the system for next season.

Signing Jones is more than just a move for depth, however. Jones turned just 23 in January and still has lots of potential. He is very athletic and can run the floor like a guard. Jones has the tools to be a good defender, especially due to his length and athleticism. The Texas alum is still a project in many ways, but his talent and potential are undeniable.

Kai Jones Has High Hopes for Himself

In an interview with Charania, Jones talked about wanting to become “the greatest of all time“:

I’m focusing on being the MVP of the NBA. That’s a long journey. That’s a lot of practices. But I think that I’m capable. I think that the best version of me is that: the MVP, DPOY, and being the greatest of all time. I think that I can do that.

Now with the Clippers, the former Hornets big man has the opportunity to live up to his own expectations.

The Clippers have one game left on the schedule before going head-to-head with the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs.


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