Los Angeles Lakers: Not re-signing Damian Jones teases a bigger move

Damian Jones, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Damian Jones, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Damian Jones’ tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers is officially over. Despite showing some promising signs in his limited time with the team, the Lakers opted not to re-sign Jones after his second 10-day contract, making him a free agent.

The Lakers could not have re-signed Jones to another 10-day contract. Once the second 10-day contract is up, the Lakers would have to re-sign him for the rest of the season in order to keep him on the roster. Rob Pelinka and the front office opted against that move.

Jones played eight games for the Lakers, starting six in place of Marc Gasol, and averaged 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. This was essentially an extended tryout for Jones as the Lakers’ biggest need is the center position. However, it seemed very unlikely even when he first joined the team that he would stick around for long.

Not re-signing Damian Jones indicates a bigger move on the horizon for the Los Angeles Lakers.

If there was ever a time that the Los Angeles Lakers needed more depth it is right now. LeBron James is likely going to miss at least six weeks with a high ankle sprain and Anthony Davis may not return for another 3-4 weeks.

Marc Gasol has not played since February 28 and is still slated to miss a few more games.

This is a Los Angeles Lakers team that is one more injury to a significant player away from completely bottoming out, so why not keep the depth in Jones when he proved to be a serviceable option?

Because a bigger move is on the horizon and it better happen soon. The Los Angeles Lakers opting not to re-sign Jones tells me that the team expects to bring in a second center in the coming days. The best-case scenario has always been Andre Drummond as a buyout player with Hassan Whiteside as the second-best option.

It also indicates, at least to me, that the Lakers are guaranteed to bring in some kind of center help. A month ago I was not sure if the Lakers were actually going to commit to getting help at the position or if they were comfortable with what they had and would add somewhere else on the roster.

Keeping Jones around would have shown that the Lakers were fine with him being the depth center and would have indicated that the Lakers would target another position. The Lakers would not release Jones if they did not expect to get another center at some point.

Of course, there is the possibility of the Los Angeles Lakers gauging the market, coming up short and having Jones as a backup plan. That is absolutely something the team can do. Frank Vogel essentially confirmed this.

However, Jones is also free to sign wherever he wants as well. It would be in his best career interest to sign as soon as possible, not wait around and hope that the Los Angeles Lakers bring him back into the fold.

For that reason, I find it very unlikely that the Los Angeles Lakers re-sign him and instead think they will turn elsewhere at the center position.

Regardless, the Los Angeles Lakers better act fast. At this point, whoever the team brings in at the center position is not going to completely move the needle, but they need all the help they can get. The purple and gold are in serious risk of plummeting down the standings while LeBron James is out and that should be taken very seriously.

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It was a fun, albeit short, time watching Damian Jones on the Los Angeles Lakers. Something bigger is now on the horizon.