James Jones

James Jones finding increased role and effectiveness

JamesJonesHeat
As soon as the Cleveland Cavaliers got a commitment from LeBron James this summer, their first free agency moves were to sign three veteran wings to provide depth at the Cavs' weakest spot. Mike Miller, Shawn Marion, and James Jones were brought in on relatively cheap contracts in order to fill in the bench depth behind LeBron James and Dion Waiters on the wing, and to provide specific skills for short spurts: Miller and Jones were to provide shooting, and Marion was here to provide wing defense.

So far, there's been some disappointment regarding the play of these three. Marion has been a pretty solid defensive player throughout the season, but offensively he's been very iffy, particularly his shooting, and he's dealt with a fair share of injuries this season, ultimately missing the last 13 games before the Cavs' game against the Heat on Monday with a hip issue. Miller has fallen off a cliff on both ends, shooting just 32 percent from both the field and three this season, and with the additions of Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, he's completely fallen out of the rotation; Miller last played more than 13 minutes in a game on January 11th, and his removal from the rotation has coincided with the Cavs' big second-half turnaround. Jones, meanwhile, hasn't done anything but shoot this season, though you could hardly call him a disappointment, as no one really expected much of him coming in.

As we hit the stretch run, though, it's Jones, not Marion or Miller, that's still playing regular rotation minutes. Over the last 15 games, Jones has averaged 17 minutes per game, far more than the 5.5 Miller has received in half the amount of games played. While Marion has sat out with his hip issues, Jones has stepped in as a regular part of the rotation, and he's outperformed the way he did earlier in the season when he was seeing around 10-11 minutes per game. He's averaged 4.4 points per game this season on 37.7 percent shooting, but over the last 15 games, that's increased to 6.7 points per game on a much more lethal 42 percent shooting. His three-point percentage has increased to 43.3 percent, tops on the team over that stretch, and even his astronomical three-point rate, buzzing along at 89.9 percent of his total attempts this season, has increased to 91.8 percent over the last 15.

Jones has been much more effective as the Cavs have found a more concrete role for him to play as a pseudo-stretch four in the second and fourth quarters. Over this recent stretch of games, Jones has been playing a majority of his minutes in lineups with Tristan Thompson at the five and one or both of Kyrie Irving and LeBron on the floor. The results of this have been mostly good. Here's the list of the top five Jones lineups of the last 15 games, minus the garbage time squad of Jones, Joe Harris, Matthew Dellavedova, Mike Miller, and Kendrick Perkins.

As you can see, even though it's woefully small sample size, the offensive capabilities of these groups are quite remarkable. Jones is able to stretch the floor in ways that guys like Miller, Marion, and even Shumpert cannot, and using Jones as a four when Love sits has been a great idea, even if the defense can bleed points at times. It's a useful tactic for short stretches, especially when LeBron and Jones share the floor, where the Cavs have a +10.0 net rating over 11 games in this span. Coincidentally, most of these lineups have been used exclusively over this 15-game sample:

Lineup

Minutes
ORtg
DRtg
Net Rtg
Dellavedova-James-Jones-Shumpert-Thompson
39
104.2
109.7
-5.6
Irving-James-Jones-Shumpert-Thompson
21
128.7
105.9
22.8
Irving-Jones-Smith-Shumpert-Thompson
16
100.8
77.0
23.8
Irving-James-Jones-Smith-Thompson
14
136.5
132.4
4.1
Dellavedova-Jones-Love-Mozgov-Smith
11
148.5
116.5
31.9


Back before the season, I was perhaps the only person who was high on James Jones's potential on this team. And even though he struggled early, and I backpedaled on this positivity quicker than Kevin Garnett during an on-court scrap, he's found a pretty effective role lately as a stretch four that can spread the floor and add a small-ball dimension to the Cavs' offense. We will have to see if this role stays constant now that Marion is back, but in certain playoff matchups (Such as potential showdowns with Washington or Chicago, neither of whom have the frontcourt flexibility to adequately handle a Jones/James/ Thompson frontcourt), Jones could see significant minutes as a key contributor. My dream of James Jones burying a team in a playoff game with an avalanche of threes is still alive, but even if he doesn't do that, Jones is showing he has value in the rotation as the Cavs gear up for a playoff run.


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(fearthesword.com)

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James Jones sets important example for Cleveland Cavs

JamesJonesHeat
Every championship team needs a player like James Jones.

An 11-year NBA veteran and two-time champion with the Miami Heat, Jones is averaging a career low 9.9 minutes per game, and has played in only 33 of the Cleveland Cavaliers' contests this year, but when coach David Blatt has turned to his third-most tenured player, he has liked the results.

Jones came off the bench for the Cavaliers (36-22), scored six points and handed out four assists in a 102-93 come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Pistons (23-34) at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Tuesday night.

"He's a seasoned pro," Blatt said following the win in Detroit. "He's always ready. He's always there. He can play a game. He cannot play three games. He can sit a week or two, but he's going to be ready when you put him out there.

"The last three games, James has really, really given us a great deal coming off the bench. He's a leader in the locker room. He's one of our leaders in the locker room. He's a leader in how we want to approach the game, and when his number is called, he's ready to give you what he can and what he knows he needs to."

After averaging only 2.9 points per game in January, Jones has scored 30 points over the last four games, three of which have been Cavaliers' victories. And to his teammates, Jones' playing style sets an important example that reserve point guard Matthew Dellavedova has followed closely.

"Champ is great," power forward Kevin Love said of Jones. "Delly's the same way. They had a lot of big plays. Champ really stepped up, was hitting threes, rebounding the basketball, playing tough defense, and that's just what he does.

"What comes to mind about him is he's a consummate pro. Delly's the same way. He's being scrappy, getting the loose balls, 50-50 balls, and boxing out (Andre) Drummond in there. That's just the type of guy that he is, and he's very well liked and admired on this team for all the hard work that he does, and all that stuff doesn't show up in the stat sheet, but it's contagious throughout our entire lineup. Guys are doing that now because Champ and Delly do that on a nightly basis."

A veteran of multiple runs deep into the postseason, including to an NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008, new Cavaliers center Kendrick Perkins, who signed with the club prior to Tuesday's game in Detroit, believes a player like Jones can make the difference between winning and losing a title.

"Across the board, you've got guys that play their roles, veteran guys that are on the bench," Perkins said. "James Jones, he was huge for us tonight. Champ came in and gave us some great minutes defensively. (Iman) Shumpert did some great things. Kyrie (Irving) got into the ball in the second half, did a much better job, so we've got the upside to be pretty good."


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(wkyc.com)
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LeBron James Calls James Jones Greatest Shooters

The Cleveland Cavaliers have barely dusted off veteran sharp shooter James Jones this season but teammate LeBron James believes he is one of the greatest shooters in the world:



Jones has only played in one game this season, logging three minutes. LeBron has long believed that Jones should get more time, going back to their days together on the Miami Heat. Yet still Jones sits there in his warmup gear while the team tries to find their groove.

It could be that coach David Blatt is holding the veteran back while the rest of the team figures out a rhythm with James or that he wants to keep his legs rested. The coach also has to take more things into account than just Jones’ great shooting. Jones is a wiry thin wing player that can be easily taken advantage of on defense. His ability to create off the dribble or stop ball penetration is minimal.

JamesJonesHeat
Whether LeBron James goes to Blatt to try to get playing time for “one of the greatest shooters on the world” is another question. It is obvious that James believes in Jones but how far does that belief extend.

LeBron has been playing a ton of minutes. Maybe giving Jones a little bit of burn could reduce that stress on James. However Jones is far less effective if James was off the court. LeBron is the team’s primary facilitator, while Kyrie Irving is the team’s primary ball handler. Jones, like Mike Miller, benefit from getting to stand around the 3 point line in catch and shoot mode while James penetrates.

In his last stop in Cleveland LeBron had Damon Jones, who thought he was the greatest shooter on the planet. In Miami, and now here in Cleveland, he has James Jones who he is declaring as a great shooter. Could this lead to more playing time for Jones?


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(kingjamesgospel.com)
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James Jones reflects on leaving Heat, Ray Allen, Erik Spoelstra

JamesJonesHeat
MIAMI— A month after joining LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers, forward James Jones said Wednesday it wasn't a matter of turning his back on his own hometown team or jumping from a sinking ship.

Jones instead told the Sun Sentinel that in the wake of James' free-agency move to the Cavaliers, and with the Heat talking of going with a younger roster, it simply was time to move on after six seasons in South Florida.

"We talked. There were discussions," he said of his end game with the Heat. "But at the end of the day, a lot is predicated on the direction of the team, personnel and style of play. With LeBron leaving, that was a big factor. There was interest on both sides, but at the end of the day, wanting to assess what was best going forward for me, it seemed like the better fit. It was really about fit."

Jones said he doesn't expect an "exhale" from the Heat in the wake of James' decision to play closer to his Akron, Ohio, roots. Instead, the former University of Miami star and South Florida native said he has been impressed with an overhaul that has included the additions of Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and other veteran free agents.

"They have D-Wade, they have U.D.," he said of Heat co-captains Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem. "They have two champions. They have some great talent that they've added. They don't need to exhale. They're just going to continue to contend.

"That's what they've built. I think the game changes and you have to adjust, but when you have guys of that competitive nature, the guys that are there, exhaling is not what they want. What they want to do is they want to take a deep breath and go back at it."

Shortly after the season, Jones, Heat free-agent guard Ray Allen and their families went on a Caribbean vacation with James' family. But Jones said it was a phone call from Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin, who he knew from their time together with the Phoenix Suns, that initiated the discussions with Cleveland.

Jones said he has stayed in contact with Allen, who also has been linked to the Cavaliers.

"I don't recruit guys," Jones said. "That's one thing I refuse to do. It's a decision he has to live with, and I can't promise him a situation would turn out right or would be the best situation. I talk to Ray, but it's about family, about life, just to see how he is doing."

Should Allen join the Cavaliers, it could leave Jones in the same position as two years ago, caught behind both Allen and swingman Mike Miller, who joined the Cavaliers the same day as Jones. In addition, the Cavaliers in recent weeks have added Kevin Love and Shawn Marion, who also possess 3-point range.

"I never worried about my competition," Jones said. "If that was the case, I would have left Miami a long time ago."

Jones stressed, as James did in his departure letter, that the decision to move on had nothing to do with ill will with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

"I had an opportunity to grow a lot and learn a lot in Miami," he said. "It was tough not playing, but that's Coach's job. And, honestly, I respect the job he has to do. So it's never great for either side.

"No player ever gets exactly what they want and no coach gets exactly what he wants. But, at the end of the day, we won two out of four championships. It's always tough not to play, but I respect it and I can understand it. So me and Erik will always be good. I'll never let that professional difference damage a personal relationship, because it's not what it's about."

In recent years, Jones spoke of a goal of retiring in Miami with the Heat, having moved to Southwest Ranches. Instead, he will return to AmericanAirlines Arena on Christmas Day in visiting colors.

"It wasn't an easy decision," he said. "I mean, it was the toughest professional decision I've had to make. But sometimes you just have to move to grow. Sometimes you just have to get out of your comfort zone.

"And the opportunity with the style of play, and the opportunity and the chance to possibly play was a big factor in my decision. And I'll always be thankful for the opportunity to play in Miami and to compete on the highest level."


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(sun-sentinel.com)
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James Jones joins LeBron James in Cleveland

JamesJonesHeat
LeBron James is the sly fox raiding the Heat’s pantry at this point.

Heat president Pat Riley knew he couldn’t keep them all in Miami, but losing James Jones to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday must have come as a mild surprise to the Miami Heat president.

Jones had said after the NBA Finals he wanted to remain with the Heat if they would have him, but now he’ll be wearing Cleveland colors alongside James next season. Jones reportedly agreed to a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum.

It’s unclear if the Heat actually had plans to bring Jones back, but there’s no doubting the fact that the Heat is short a few veteran shooters at this point in the free agency process.

Someone with Jones’ unique expertise is valued on any roster, and James jumped at the opportunity to bring Jones with him to the Cleveland. Jones shot over 50 percent from three-point range last season in 20 games, and shot nearly 47 percent from the field in the 2014 playoffs.

For the Heat, he would have been a nice security blanket now that Shane Battier has retired and Rashard Lewis, late Tuesday night, agreed to a one-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

Jones, 33, spent six seasons with the Heat, winning two championships, and was valued for his work ethic and uncanny ability to come off the bench and make timely three-pointers.

But despite Jones’ expressed desire to stay with the Heat, James apparently recruited the Miami native and former Hurricanes star heavily. James, Jones and Ray Allen went on vacation together to the Bahamas after the Heat lost to the Spurs. At the time, that was viewed as positive sign for the Heat. On second thought, James might have been plotting to take Jones to Cleveland all along.

James received a commitment from another former Heat player on Tuesday when Mike Miller joined the Cavaliers. James values Jones and Miller for their ability to spread the floor offensively. James openly called for Jones to be inserted into the Heat’s rotation during the NBA playoffs. In Cleveland, Jones will be a valued mentor on a young team.


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(miamiherald.com)
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James Jones Foundation Hosts Camp For Under Privileged Kids

JamesJonesHeat
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It will be a summer to remember for more than 50 under privileged kids from South Florida thanks to Miami Heat player James Jones and his wife Destiny.

This week the 55 kids from the Chapman Partnership, a homeless assistance center, will be a part of the James Jones Legacy Foundation’s ‘Crew 22 Training Camp’.

The week long camp is filled with educational experiences the some kids can only only dream about. For example, the campers will get a chance to help tag sharks at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. They’ll also get to learn about loftier pursuits, a.k.a. aviation skills & lessons, at Experience Aviation based in Opa-Locka Executive Airport.

Then its back to the wonders of the sea at the Miami Seaquarium where they will experience marine life animal interactions, conservation education classes and hands-on experiments.

Jones and his wife founded the James Jones Legacy Foundation with the belief that every child who enters the program is welcomed with respect, the affirmation that he or she is special in this world and can make a difference.

By building confidence, character and hope, the foundation works to give the kids they serve a better future.


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(cbslocal.com)
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Cavs pursuing James Jones as they chase LeBron

JamesJonesHeat
The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly looking at signing Miami Heat free agent swingman James Jones and Memphis Grizzlies free agent swingman Mike Miller.




Hmmm! This is the same James Jones who LeBron James wanted to play more in the playoffs, isn't it? Fancy that. Oh, and this is the same Mike Miller who the Heat amnestied last summer, which James reportedly wasn't thrilled about? The same one James reportedly contacted last week about joining him if he left Miami? What a coincidence.

And the Cavs are reportedly going after Ray Allen, too? OK, sure.

It's funny to see Cleveland chasing the sharpshooters James played with in Miami, but it's hard to really knock them for it. The superstar knows the value of having reliable marksmen spacing the floor, and if the Cavs think getting guys he's comfortable with could help recruit him, why not? This is the best player in the world, and the Cleveland organization might as well try everything it can if it believes it has a real chance.


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(cbssports.com)
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James Jones honored by Adrienna Sotomayor's Dream Chasers Benefit

JamesJonesHeat
Today Miami Heat star James Jones embraces local Florida student Adrienna Sotomayor's as she presents Dream Chasers Benefit. "Over the years, I have encountered many young people in our community. Often times, young people are seeking someone just to help guide and encourage them to believe in themselves. Adrienna Sotomayor has volunteered with the James Jones camp for over three years as a camp counselor. I was honored she choose us as one of the organizations she wanted to raise funds for and give back to for her Silver Knight Project - Dreams Chasers Benefit." James Jones.

"Enjoy a fun filled Dream Chasers evening with breathtaking acts performed by the youth of Miami- Dade County. The Dream Chasers Benefit is my Miami Herald Silver Knight project. Performing Arts is essential in our community. It's our goal to prove that through vocal, instrumental, dance, spoken word pieces, and much more. The Dream Chasers Benefit is raising funds for Voice of Love Training & Development, Inc. and The James Jones Legacy Foundation. Tickets are only $6.00 and will be sold at the door. Children 5 and under enter in free! Don't forget to bring extra cash for food purchases and awesome raffle prizes! Raffle tickets start at just $1 with more options to purchase chances for the bigger raffle prizes. Thanks to all the Dream Chasers Benefit Sponsors for offering many chances to win amazing gift cards and prizes." Adrienna Sotomayor.

The Dream Chasers headline talents are local gifted performers who are dedicated to share the arts with our community. Miami Heat star James Jones donated two very cool raffle items, but you will need to secure tickets now to see what they are! James will surprise the Dream Chasers audience not only with his attendance, but will speak directly to them on stage. A recording of James' voice on someone's cell phone message is offered as a VIP raffle prize. Mr. Jones is also donating a pair of autographed gym shoes. This is one South Florida fundraising event not to be missed. If you are a Miami Heat fan come out with the entire family.

As you know the Silver Knight Awards program are designed to recognize outstanding students who have maintained good grades. They must unselfishly apply their special knowledge or talents to contribute significant service to their schools and communities. I love the performing arts, I'm a Glee member, proud to sing at my church, and everywhere I am invited to perform. That is why I choose to direct, produce, perform and present the Dream Chasers Benefit. Adrienna Sotomayor Director and Creator for Dream Chasers Benefit.

Adrienna Sotomayor represent her school's Music Department, and is also going for the music category for Silver Knights nominee for Mater Academy's class of 2015. Special thanks to Adrienna Sotomayor's Silver Knight adviser, Ms. Maria Montero and her Principal Ms. Judith Marty. For more information please visit Dream Chasers Benefit. Mater Academy Charter Middle/High is located at 7901 NW 103rd Street Hialeah Gardens, Florida 33016.

Congratulation to Adrienna Sotomayor and her Silver Knight sponsors which include: Mater Academy High School, Miami Heat/American Airlines Arena, Miami Heat’s #22 James Jones, Starbucks Hialeah Gardens, Menchies Miami Lakes, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Outback Steakhouse Miami Lakes, Wal-mart Hialeah Gardens & Armstrong Creative Services, Blacc Boutique & Beauty Schools of America who have graciously agreed to provide make-up & hair styles for all of the Dream Chasers performers. "It's youth leaders like Adrienna Sotomayor who are making this world a better place, giving back to our society through her passion for the arts." Broadway Global.


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(examiner.com)
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LeBron calls for James Jones to play

JamesJonesHeat
NEW YORK -- It’s not usual for LeBron James to question Erik Spoelstra’s coaching decisions, at least not publicly. James has built up tremendous respect for the Miami Heat coach and consistently credits him for his strategies.

But James did send a little message to his coach heading into the Heat’s Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets. James wants to play more with James Jones, the Heat’s little-used but valuable sweet shooting wing.

James and Jones have been the Heat’s most productive tandem in the playoffs when looking at plus/minus data. But after playing a significant role in the first round against the Charlotte Bobcats, Jones has been out of the rotation in the three games so far against the Nets.

“We have to find some minutes for him, I don’t see why he shouldn’t play,” James said. “He’s huge for our team when he’s in the lineup.”

Jones is 10-of-20 on 3-pointers in the playoffs and he and James complement each other well on the floor. Because Jones is an elite spot-up shooter, James likes to play on the same side of the floor and force defenses to choose between the two. When playing together in the playoffs, Jones and James have combined to shoot 56 percent from the field.

Spoelstra has not used Jones much over the past two seasons, mostly for defensive reasons as he sometimes struggles on that end. James, though, always is more comfortable when playing with shooters, one of the reasons Ray Allen has been such a good fit with the Heat over the past two seasons.

“The space James provides and his ability to shoot the ball is great for us,” James said. “You can’t do both when he’s out on the floor. You can’t help on my drives and contest 3-pointers on him. They have to keep an eye on him.”

Jones came in for nine minutes in garbage time in the fourth quarter of the Nets’ Game 3 victory on Saturday after the Heat were down by double digits, his first extended time in the series. He drilled three 3-pointers in that stretch, two of them off feeds from James.

James’ hints that he wants more of that suggests he’s taken his pleas for Jones to play more meaningful minutes directly to Spoelstra. But the Heat coaches were playing coy when asked about lineup changes before Game 4.

“We’ll find out,” Spoelstra said.

The Heat coach is more concerned about his defense than his offensive-based lineups. The Heat gave up more than 100 points for the first time in the playoffs in Game 3, mostly because the Nets set a franchise playoff record by hitting 15 3-pointers. That is what Spoelstra focused on Monday, trying to get the Heat to not write that off as a fluke shooting performance.

“It’s always an easy crutch in this league [to blame lucky shooting],” Spoelstra said. “You have to decipher what can you do better and harder and then within a seven-game series, what can you adjust. It was tough to figure out what adjustments you need to make in Game 3 when you don’t bring other things that are necessary to our defense first."


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(espn.com)
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James Jones Says Shelly Sterling Can’t Own Clippers

JamesJonesHeat
James Jones is not a fan of Shelly Sterling, quote-unquote wife of suspended Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, taking over ownership of the team.

Jones, a National Basketball Players Association executive, said the players have made it clear that Shelly Sterling is not part of an acceptable solution to finding new, less-racist ownership.

“No, that’s not something that’s acceptable to us,” Jones said in advance of Saturday night’s Eastern Conference semifinal playoff game against the Brooklyn Nets. “That’s our stance, and it hasn’t changed, and it won’t.”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Jones said.”But all indications are that Adam is in agreement with the players and that they’ll do what is right for the league and the player.”

Via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 

Jones, as well as union president Chris Paul, are more concerned about advancing in the playoffs, but are being kept in the loop while Adam Silver and the NBA take care of the details.


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(fansided.com)
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James Jones plans to stay hot during layoff

JamesJonesHeat
If anyone on the Heat’s roster is well suited for an entire week on the shelf between playoff games, then it’s three-point specialist James Jones.

This season, Jones went 31 consecutive games without logging a single minute. From Jan. 18 to March 26, he watched every game the Heat played from the bench. Most nights, Jones was in a suit. Sometimes he dressed. Every time, he just watched and waited.

When he finally played, Jones stroked the first three-pointer he attempted.

“He is a different level,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “I have never ever played with anyone like J.J. — to shoot like he can under any condition. You put that guy in, and you think he’s making the shot. That is not the norm. … That guy is really one in a million.”

Jones has honed his skill as a “cold shooter” through years of hard work, so stepping on the court Tuesday after seven days between the Heat’s first- and second-round series shouldn’t be very difficult. For everyone else, however, returning to the playoffs after such a long break will be a challenge.

The Heat’s first-round series ended Monday after four mostly uninspiring games against the Charlotte Bobcats. Meanwhile, the rest of the NBA playoffs have been captivating. Saturday featured three Game 7s. Two more will take place Sunday, including the conclusion to the first-round series between the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors. The winner of that Game 7, which tips off at 1 p.m. at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, gets a second-round series against the defending back-to-back champions.

The Nets won Friday night to force the NBA’s first-ever Game 7 on Canadian soil.

“Those teams are competing,” Jones said. “We don’t pick favorites. We’re fans of all the other series just like everyone else. We’re just going to prepare and worry about what we can control, which is our offense, our defense, our continuity and our consistency, and whoever we play, we just play them to the best of our ability.”

The Heat swept the Raptors 4-0 this season and lost all four of its games against the Nets. Of course, it would be misguided to draw any real conclusions from those lopsided numbers. The Raptors have enough athleticism, youth and size to give the Heat problems, and the Heat’s season series against the Nets couldn’t have been any more competitive. Three of the losses to Brooklyn were by a combined four points and the fourth game went into overtime.

“It doesn’t matter,” point guard Norris Cole said. “Playoffs are a totally different season. Records don’t matter, especially not with our team and having everybody together now. It won’t matter.”

Cole, a third-year player who has won every playoff series he has ever played (nine and counting), is understandably confident, but if the Heat’s second round in 2013 was any indication, then Game 1 of the Heat’s second-round series Tuesday presents a challenge unique to even the playoffs.

The Heat faced a similar scenario last year and, surprisingly, lost to the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of its second-round series after a long break between rounds. The Bulls needed seven games to knock off the Nets in 2013, and had just one day between series. Despite the quick turnaround, the Bulls defeated the Heat 93-86 in Game 1. The Heat scored just 15 points in the first quarter.

Having learned from last year’s mistakes, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has approached his team’s weeklong break this time around similar to a football coach. The team conditioned and scrimmaged early in the week, and took the day off Saturday.

Also different this year: the team is expected to feature Jones off the bench. He will not be a focal point for the Heat, but his ready-made offense is valued by teammates, and his presence on the court also adds a measure of confidence, especially for LeBron James. Jones’ total plus-minus against the Bobcats was plus-46, and his per-game plus-minus average was 11.5. Both of those numbers led the team in the first round.

Equally noteworthy, if not redundant: the two-man combination of Jones and James featured the best plus-minus (plus-46) of any pairing against the Bobcats.

“We’ve come to expect that out of James,” Chris Bosh said. “He’s the best cold shooter I’ve ever seen. He just comes in and makes shots right away.

“He has kind of spoiled us a little bit in that aspect, just with his ability. He’s a pro’s pro.”


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(miamiherald.com)
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James Jones Will Play The “Mike Miller” Role For Miami Heat In 2014 NBA Playoffs

JamesJonesHeat
The Miami Heat are officially the only team in the playoffs to have swept their opponent out of the first round, which is a welcome sign for a team that was struggling mightily just weeks before the playoffs even began. Each game seemed to show how deep the Heat truly were, with multiple role players coming off the bench and scoring in the double digits.

One player in particular that has seen a huge spike in playing time is James Jones. Once delegated to the furthest end of the bench, Jones averaged 16 minutes a game throughout the first round, while averaging 7.0 PPG, 1.5 RPG, and 1.0 APG. More importantly, Jones is shooting over 46 percent from beyond the arc, which is the highest percentage of any Heat player thus far in the playoffs.

The Heat relied on Mike Miller’s 3-point shooting more often than they would have liked to throughout the 2012 and 2013 NBA Playoffs. If Jones is going to continue averaging at least 16 minutes a game, then he will have to fill this role for the Heat. With Shane Battier and Ray Allen (notorious Heat sharpshooters) both being in horrendous shooting slumps, Jones may end up with meaningful playoff minutes, potentially making this the most important postseason of his career.

Miller brought other intangibles to the lineup that Jones just isn’t able to, such as high rebounding numbers and quality defense. Jones is notoriously slow-footed on the defensive side of the ball, and this was extremely apparent when the Bobcats would purposely switch players on  Jones, so that he would become isolated in one-on-one defensive matchups against quick guards.

Outside of Jones’ defensive lapses, his ability to score efficiently from beyond the arc is not something the Heat will take for granted, and this is why Jones will fill that essential “Mike Miller” role for the Heat. With some of the defending champs other sharpshooters in a perpetual funk, Jones is now one of the most reliable 3-point shooters on the Heat’s roster, and we all know how much the Heat rely on shots from beyond the arc.

Just ask Ray Allen about Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals.


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(rantsports.com)
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Will James Jones Be The Difference For The Heat in the Playoffs?

JamesJonesHeat
Even though the decision to play James Jones was driven initially by matchups, Spoelstra --- in the next series --- will be hard-pressed to ignore either his performance or how well the Heat has played with Jones on the floor.

Since Spoelstra started playing him regularly on March 28, Jones is 26 for 53 on three-pointers, and the Heat has outscored opponents by 112 points in 11 games during the minutes when Jones was on the court. Jones was a plus-46 in 64 minutes of the Bobcats series, including a plus-eight tonight.


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(miamiherald.com)
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James Jones is unexpected weapon off the bench

JamesJonesHeat
Freak is the word LeBron James uses to describe James Jones.

As in, Jones has put in so much time and work behind the scenes without even the slightest hint that he might actually play, that the Heat’s sharpshooter can only be described as freaky or freakish or, in the words of the four-time NBA MVP, “a freak.”

The freak was super on Sunday in the Heat’s first game of the 2014 playoffs.

Called into service in the second quarter, Jones delivered a necessary spark in the first half of the Heat’s 99-88 victory against the Charlotte Bobcats in Game 1 of Miami’s best-of-7, first-round playoff series. With the defending back-to-back champions once again needing a surge off the bench in the second half, Jones entered the game midway through the third quarter and provided a pair of three-pointers to break open a close game.

All those long days in the gym paid off for Jones on the biggest stage.

“I have the luxury of playing with some of the best playmakers, and guys get me good shots in open spots, and that’s my responsibility — to make them,” said Jones, a graduate of Miami American Senior High and a newly inducted member of the University of Miami sports hall of fame.

The hometown product finished with 12 points in 14 minutes in delivering his first double-figure scoring effort in a playoff game since 2011. In the Heat’s first postseason game of 2014, Jones’ contributions were the biggest difference between the team that won the NBA’s two previous championships and the current, slightly different version that’s beginning its quest for three in a row.

On Sunday, James said he expects Jones to play a crucial role this postseason as the team searches for ways to replace the clutch three-point shooting of Mike Miller. In a move to avoid a big hit in luxury-tax fees, the Heat used its one-time “amnesty clause” last summer to remove Miller’s contract from the league’s ledger. Miller is now playing for the Memphis Grizzlies.

“I think J.J. is going to play a big part of our success — of how far we go,” James said. “It was huge for him to come off the bench tonight and make the plays that he made. He even had two layup attempts, which is unlike J.J. — a career high — so that was huge.”

James and other luminaries in the NBA have long admired Jones for his unflappable professionalism and dogged work ethic. That James calls Jones a freak is the highest of compliments coming from a player who values hard work above all. Jones has been resigned to the end of the Heat’s bench for much of the past two seasons, but he practices his three-point shooting just as habitually as the most obsessive players in the league.

Ray Allen is legendary for getting to the gym hours before games to get up shots. NBA fans might know Allen’s nickname as Jesus Shuttlesworth — a nod to the character he played in Spike Lee’s He Got Game — but insiders around the league call Allen “Every Day” Ray.

Every day, Jones is right there alongside Allen before games and before practices and matching the league’s all-time leader in three-pointers shot for shot.
And now, without being a part of the Heat’s rotation for most of the season, it appears Jones could be a significant role player in the postseason. In addition to moving ahead of Shane Battier in the pecking order of Heat shooters, Jones also played more minutes on Sunday than Heat reserve Rashard Lewis, who was expected to feature prominently off the bench for the Heat.

Battier didn’t play on Sunday, and Lewis logged less than nine minutes. In another twist, reserve point guard Norris Cole played more minutes than Allen, the Heat’s traditional sixth man. Allen went scoreless in Game 1 against the Bobcats while Cole had seven points and was a defensive pest against the Bobcats’ quick backcourt.

Cole isn’t expected to play more minutes than Allen as the playoffs progress. The unexpected substitution patterns were obvious signs that the Heat is still figuring itself out after a regular season in which the top priority was to get everyone to playoffs healthy. And with the unfortunate foot injury to Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra basically has an entire round to tinker.

Spoelstra went to Jones after it became apparent that Jefferson’s foot injury wasn’t going away. In going small with Jones, Spoelstra created a mismatch that opened the game for the Heat. Jones said after the game that he didn’t know he was part of the game plan until Spoelstra called for him with less than six minutes remaining in the second quarter.

“Coach called my number and asked me to go in there and bring some energy and make some shots, and that’s what I did,” Jones said. “My team won, that’s the best thing about it. My individual efforts don’t really give me much excitement.

“It’s all about winning. If I can help the team win by performing well, I relish that opportunity.”


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James Jones comes out of ‘bullpen’ to give Miami Heat a boost

JamesJonesHeat
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra compared James Jones to a relief pitcher in baseball.

When called in from the bullpen Sunday afternoon, Jones came in throwing strikes.

Jones had perhaps the biggest impact of Miami’s bench players in Sunday’s 99-88 win over visiting Charlotte in the Heat’s 2014 postseason opener.

“We didn’t know we would need to get that deep into the rotation,” Spoelstra said moments after Jones finished with 12 points in 14 minutes 11 seconds.

“I love the guys on our bench because they keep themselves ready. You never know when that kind of opportunity is going to happen.

“You have to be able to produce, and it’s not easy.”

Jones didn’t log much playing time in last year’s run to the championship.

When he checked in with 4:19 left in the second quarter, it marked his first playoff game since Game 5 of the 2013 Finals in San Antonio.

Last season, Jones scored three points in three of the nine postseason games he appeared in.

For Jones, finding himself at the end of the bench before suddenly being asked to help out is something he’s used to. It’s not something he necessarily likes, but he has been dealing with it for some time.

“I’ve been in this role for a couple of years here, and I think the difficult times in dealing with it have passed,” said Jones, a former Miami American High standout who was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame earlier this month.

“I’m a competitor, and I play this game to play and to win. [On Sunday], I got a chance to do both.”

Jones replaced Chris Andersen late in the second quarter with the Heat leading by one.

Jones got two rebounds and an assist in his first minute of play before scoring his first points on a layup after Mario Chalmers stole the ball at midcourt and fed him after drawing a pair of defenders.

With 50 seconds left, Jones drew a foul on a three-point shot from the corner and hit two of three free throws to give Miami an 11-point lead.

“I was a little surprised, we have had a very solid rotation all year,” Jones said. “I was expecting us, with the need for energy, for one of our reserves to come in. Coach called my number and asked me to bring some energy, make some shots. That’s what I did.”

By the time he replaced Udonis Haslem in the third, Charlotte had closed to a tie. Jones gave the Heat yet another spark, and his three-pointer with 45.1 seconds left in the period put Miami up six.

“We were a little lethargic,” Jones said, “but we bounced back. We have 15 real NBA-talented guys and in the playoffs, all bets are off.
“You have to do whatever it takes to win.”

Jones is in his sixth season with the Heat and quickly dismissed thoughts of retirement after Miami’s first title in 2012.

Although he hasn’t seen much playing time this year — Sunday’s game was just the eighth time he has received 14-plus minutes this season — Jones knows where he stands with the Heat.

“He’s a unique guy, and we learned that early on during the pre-Big 3 team,” Spoelstra said. “You can bring him out of the bullpen, and not many guys have that kind of mentality. He understands the big-picture stuff and is willing to sacrifice. He doesn’t have an ego in that regard, but he has an incredible amount of confidence when he gets out there. That’s a tough balance.”

Now what about Wednesday?

Spoelstra said Jones could go back to riding the bench for much of the night in Game 2 against the Bobcats. Or maybe he won’t.

“I don’t know,” Spoelstra said.

“You can say we rode the hot hand.”

Indeed, one LeBron James thinks will come up big for Miami as he compared Jones to the departed Mike Miller as a potential Heat playoff hero.

“He’s a key ingredient to our success in this postseason,” James said. “We’re a different team than last year. Obviously, without Mike Miller on this team, J.J. is going to be able to fill that void.”


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VIDEO: James Jones - UM Hall of Fame acceptance speech




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proCanes Clinton Portis, James Jones, Andre Johnson set to join UM Sports Hall of Fame

ClintonPortisCanes
James Jones has two NBA championships with the Miami Heat.

Andre Johnson ranks second all-time in NFL receiving-yards-per-game with the Houston Texans.

But the honor that ignites their already fierce pride in a way that can’t quite be compared to anything else, stems from their hometown dreams as children growing up yearning to be Miami Hurricanes.

Jones and Johnson will join a prolific class when they are inducted Thursday night into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.

“To do anything here at home, in my backyard, is something that I’ll be close to forever,” said Jones, 33, a 6-8, 215-pound small forward who graduated from Miami American High, starred at UM from 1999 to 2003 and has been with the Heat since 2008. “Every time I go to a Hurricanes game or watch the Canes play or watch a Hurricanes football game or think about college sports and the U, I’ll know I have a place in history there.

“It’s a legacy. I’ll be the first in my family to do something like that. Hopefully I can set the mark for my family, my kids and especially kids from the city who dream of those types of things, but never really get the opportunity.’’

Johnson, 32, graduated from Miami Senior High and helped bring UM’s football program back to prominence from 2000 to 2002, earning a national title with the Hurricanes in 2001 while being named the Rose Bowl’s Co-MVP (along with fellow UM Sports Hall of Famer Ken Dorsey) with seven receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns against Nebraska.

“A tremendous honor,” Johnson said this week as he prepared to work out on campus. “Growing up as a child I always wanted to be a Hurricane. It was a dream of mine. Then, to be able to come here and win a national championship and help get the school back to where it had been before, that was the greatest feeling for me.

“Those were the best days of my life and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. You were a kid and came together with a bunch of guys from different places and built something real special. You look at guys from other colleges and you can tell they don’t have the brotherhood we have here.’’

Johnson will be joined in being honored by fellow football inductees Lamar Thomas, a Hurricanes receiver from 1988 to 92, and running back Clinton Portis, who shared in the 2001 national title and went on to star with the NFL’s Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins.

Thomas, who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1993, finished his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins (1996 to 2000) and returned to UM to earn his bachelor’s degree in 2008. He was recently hired as the wide receivers coach at Louisville, and will meet his Hurricanes on the other side of the field in the season opener at Louisville.

Portis now serves as a football analyst for the ACC Digital Network.

The other former Hurricanes being inducted include hometown athletes Wyllesheia Myrick, a two-time All-American in track who left UM with several school records from 1998 to 2002; and infielder and pitching star Javy Rodriguez (1999 to 2002), who led UM to its last two national championships in ’99 and ’01. He returned to complete his UM degree in 2011 and now coaches at alma mater Gulliver Prep.

Rounding out the honorees are Cuban native and current FIU diving coach Rio Ramirez, who earned four individual national titles with UM from 1997 to 99; and pitcher Jeff Morrison, who starred at Delray Beach Atlantic High and led the Canes to the College World Series three consecutive seasons (1979 to 81).
Morrison went on to receive his law degree from Georgetown and spent the next 30 years as an attorney in Atlanta. He is now working on his PhD at Georgia State, and will begin a second career this fall as a history professor.


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Has James Jones gotten lost in Heat shuffle?

JamesJonesHeat
Q: A game like Saturday, with no Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen or Udonis Haslem, you have Dwyane Wade and even LeBron James needing to be spelled, and Chris Bosh in foul trouble. And James Jones can't get off the bench? That makes him the guy who gets cut when Pat Riley inevitably finds this year's buyout deadline special, right? -- Raf, Melbourne, Australia.

A: Doubt it, and because of more than having to eat a guaranteed contract. There also is a loyalty factor in play, plus, when needed to get what he does best, Jones has produced. The reality is the preference long has been for the type of length Rashard Lewis and Michael Beasley are capable of providing. But there will be a time when 3-pointers are needed, and needed in a hurry, and few can produce as efficiently in that regard as Jones. He's basically a roster luxury, but hardly an outcast.

READ MORE at sun-sentinel.com & Ira Winderman


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proCanes James Jones, Lamar Thomas, Andre Johnson, Clinton Portis headline 2014 UM Sports Hall of Fame inductees

LamarThomas
Current Texans receiver Andre Johnson and Hurricanes football greats Clinton Portis and Lamar Thomas headline the UM Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014.

All eight members will be formally introduced at halftime of Miami’s home finale against Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 23.

The Class of 2014 also includes Heat forward James Jones (basketball, 1999-2003), Jeff Morrison (baseball, 1978-81), Wyllesheia Myrick (track, 1998-2002), Rio Ramirez (diving, 1997-99) and Javy Rodriguez (baseball, 1999-2002).

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1966 by eight Dade County Circuit Court judges, who wanted to establish an organization that would recognize those student-athletes, coaches and administrators who excelled at their sport and brought acclaim to the University of Miami through achievements and championships.

With the addition of the eight newest members, the Sports Hall of Fame will increase to 282 honorees. The eight-member class will be inducted at the 46th annual UMSHoF Induction Banquet, which will be held April 10, 2014.

For more information on the banquet, fans can visit www.UMSportsHallofFame.com or call 305-284-2775.


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James Jones to lead UM Homecoming parade Friday

JamesJonesHeat
No, James Jones said, he will not have to wear a crown or carry a scepter, "only a Hurricanes T-shirt and a big smile."

The Miami Heat forward will serve Friday as Grand Marshal of the University of Miami's Homecoming parade.

"I've always stayed close to the University and with the athletic department," said Jones, who graduated from the school with a 2003 degree in finance.

"With Blake, we had a conversation about opportunities to come back and be involved in some of the Homecoming stuff during the season," he said of his discussions with University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James.

Jones, who spoke of the honor before Tuesday's game against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre, said the timing works out, with the Heat idle Friday, between a Thursday home game against the Los Angeles Clippers and a Saturday home game against the Boston Celtics that will force him to miss the Hurricanes' Homecoming game that night against Virginia Tech at Sun Life Stadium.

"It just so happens that this year is one of the few years where the schedule actually worked out," Jones said. "It wasn't that there wasn't a desire to be a part of it before, but with our schedule and the school's schedule, Homecoming, it never really came together."

Jones said he felt honored that he would be considered by University of Miami President Donna Shalala.

"President Shalala, she's done an amazing job down there, and more than anything it's an honor for me to be a part of it," he said.

The Homecoming parade will be at 7 p.m. Friday and run along Merrick and Stanford Drive.

Previous athletes to serve as Grand Marshal at UM's Homecoming include Michael Irvin, Russell Maryland, Bennie Blades, Alonzo Highsmith and Darrin Smith.


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With Miller gone, Heat's James Jones letting it fly

JamesJonesHeat
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— James Jones wonders about the fuss. Given the opportunity, this is what he does.

A replacement starter for sidelined Dwyane Wade in the Miami Heat's exhibition opener, and with additional opportunities amid the limited minutes for the starters in Thursday's victory over the Detroit Pistons, Jones went into Friday's exhibition against the Charlotte Bobcats at the Sprint Center at 6 of 10 on 3-pointers in the preseason.

"It's just from work with the shooters in the offseason," the veteran swingman said. "Me and Ray [Allen], we get a lot of shots up. The routine, it pays off. And the consistency helps, especially when you get consistent minutes."

Jones went into Friday's exhibition tied for second in scoring with the Heat this preseason, behind only Chris Bosh.

"He's another guy who had a terrific summer," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's really been disciplined with his nutrition and his training this summer, so he kept himself ready. He's a pro's pro. Whenever his number's called, he produces.

"It's not easy, particularly for shooters, who not only rely on their skill. You also have to rely on rhythm and confidence. J.J. is always able to come in with that confidence, and I think that's a remarkable talent that he has."

With more of an opportunity to play alongside Wade, Bosh and LeBron James, Jones has stated his case for regular-season playing time.

"You have to give up something," Jones said. "When teams are trying to take our guys away, take C.B. when he's attacking, LeBron, D-Wade, they're going to leave our shooters open and it's up to us to make those shots."

There could be the opportunity for at least a slight uptick in playing time this season with Mike Miller now with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Jones, however, said there is no reason to attempt to play beyond his skill set in a bid to bid for regular-season playing time.

"I'm a player. I do what Coach asks me to do, depending on what our personnel has," Jones said. "I mean, it's not like I can't do these things. But why replicate it when you have three of the game's best players? So we all understand our roles. We all understand what Coach wants. And he wants me to continue to shoot it."

Spoelstra said it is important his players move beyond the notion of stepping into Miller's role.

"We're not necessarily trying to fill gaps that are missing from last year," he said. "We're trying to evolve and take steps forward. J.J.'s game is different than players that we've had before. We know what skill set he brings offensively. He spreads the court as well as anybody in this league. He knows what his game is. He doesn’t play outside of his box. Defensively, he's always been one of our better off-the-ball system defenders, what Shane [Battier] has done, J.J.'s done for years.

"He just needs to continue to make his point. But it's not about necessarily earning a rotation spot right now. It's just about sharpening your skills, improving, evolving our game, and being ready whenever you number is called."

So Jones is staying ready by maximizing his increased preseason exposure.

"It's not hard," he said, "when you got teammates that get you open and get you the ball in good spots."


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Office politics win-win for James Jones, LeBron James

JamesJonesHeat
Officially, the title remains the same as it has been for years, "Secretary-Treasurer of the National Basketball Players Association."

But for weeks, Miami Heat forward James Jones found himself acting as a political operative, of sorts, as well.

Could he deliver teammate LeBron James as president of the NBPA? Could he get LeBron to ease off his criticism of the union? Would a faction of the union's leadership create unease between James and Jones in the Heat locker room?

Then the call came from James to Jones, that LeBron would not seek the union's highest office, his schedule already stretched too thin. Shortly thereafter, Jones boarded a flight for this past week's union meeting in Las Vegas, carrying hope that the union could coalesce in the wake of former union president Derek Fisher stepping aside and with former union executive director Billy Hunter being dismissed earlier in the year.

LeBron's name never got put up to vote Wednesday. Instead, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, already a union vice president, was elected president by the 30 team representatives.

The initial reaction was one of "Wait, what?," that a player with his own championship aspirations and considerable endorsement portfolio could find the time that LeBron could not.

To Jones, the election of Paul made plenty of sense, especially amid this period of turmoil.

"LeBron had interest in having a more vocal presence within the union, being more involved,"

Jones said of their conversations. "But, at the same time, he understood that it's a transition. It's not something where overnight you get into the meat and the details of the business and how it operates and functions. And C.P. is like LeBron, the face of our game. He's an international star, an international presence, but he's been exposed to the board. So he understands the commitment. He was just more comfortable working with our existing board."

Depending on the perspective, LeBron's dalliance either raised awareness of the need for a strong union or raised greater question, particularly when claimed the union had been "going backwards."

That comment drew a harsh rebuke from executive-board member Jerry Stackhouse, the journeyman guard and former LeBron Heat teammate, who called James "misinformed."

Caught in the middle was Jones, who had to deal with fellow executive-board members on Wednesday but also has to deal with LeBron in coming months.

"LeBron's points were valid," Jones said upon his South Florida return. "He said the union had been in turmoil, had taken steps backward. The first step moving forward was reclaiming the union, which we did."

To a degree, Jones said James accomplished plenty just by speaking up.

"Make no mistake about it, our union has been a mess," Jones said. "It has been in turmoil. The general consensus of the players, not individual bodies, but the overall body, was that the union has lost touch with what its goal and mission was, and that the players weren't engaged. And we wanted to reactivate their enthusiasm."

Jones doesn't expect James to step back now when it comes to remaining engaged with the union.

"I don't need to prod LeBron," he said. "He's proven on the court, off the court, that he's self-motivated. So he'll be as involved as he wants to and we'll welcome that."

As for his own aspirations, Jones believes he has found a calling that puts his finance degree from the University of Miami to its best use.

"I've been treasurer for a while," he said. "I'm comfortable in that role. I enjoy it. It's continuity that we're looking for. It's not reshuffling the board every year."


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Man in Ohio trial scammed James Jones

JamesJonesHeat
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A witness who testified against a man accused of operating a multimillion-dollar real-estate fraud told a federal judge the man also ripped off Miami Heat basketball players.

The testimony came Thursday in federal court in Columbus, where U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus denied bond to Haider Zafar. The judge determined Zafar is a flight risk and a danger to the community.

"The longer the potential sentence, the greater the risk of flight," the judge said, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Zafar, who used to live in Ohio but now lives in southern Florida, is awaiting trial on wire fraud and other charges. His 135-count indictment describes a scheme it says he used to swindle Washington, D.C., businessman Patwinder Sidhu out of $10 million between 2008 and 2010.

Zafar pleaded not guilty last month to all charges. His attorney, Samuel Shamansky, on Friday said they will continue to challenge the accusations.

A criminal complaint says Zafar, a Pakistan native and U.S. legal resident, used questionable documents to solicit the funds from Sidhu for real-estate ventures in Pakistan.

The complaint accuses Zafar of telling Sidhu that his uncle was Pakistan's defense minister and was responsible for buying property for that country's government. It says Zafar told Sidhu they could buy land in Pakistan and later sell it to the government for a profit.

The basketball players aren't mentioned in the criminal complaint.

The witness who testified during Thursday's hearing, international-investment attorney Andrew Fine, said some Heat players, including former forward Mike Miller, and other Florida residents invested $8 million with Zafar. The other players are forward Rashard Lewis and guard James Jones, a person with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because it is an active investigation.

The Heat, in a statement Friday, said the team remains in "constant contact" with the authorities handling the investigation.

Prosecutors allege Zafar used his investor's money to fuel an opulent life. The indictment mentions purchases of several luxury cars, including a 2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom convertible, diamonds and watches, among other items.


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Homeless Kids Go Horseback Riding at Heat Player James Jones' Training Camp

JamesJonesHeat
The Davie Ranch is less than an hour's drive from the homeless shelter in Miami, but it feels like a different planet for the kids enrolled in the James Jones Crew22 Training Camp.

Many of these boys and girls have never seen a horse up close, let alone ride one. Horseback riding just isn't on the radar of things to do for homeless kids who are more concerned with getting three meals a day and having clothes to wear, so a field trip to the ranch was an incredible experience for them.

"It's like you're being picked up on something that's high, and like you're flying, but it's actually like a dream come true, kind of, if you never rode a horse before," said 7th-grader Precius Palmer, trying to describe the experience.

Jones is a Miami native who went on to play basketball for the University of Miami and now, for the Miami Heat. The sharpshooting guard won the NBA's Three-Point Contest in 2011, and has now won consecutive championships with the team. Jones is a winner, but his greatest triumph may be off the court, with the work he's doing with homeless children.



"We wanted to take them out of their element, kind of wrap our arms around them, and show them that the world is bigger than they've ever dreamed," said Jones.

Some players run their own basketball camps, and make token appearances. Jones is at his two-week camp every day, and it's far from a traditional sports camp. The emphasis in the Crew22 Training Camp is on teaching life skills, on preparing these middle-school-age kids for the coming school year, on motivating them to succeed in general.

Horseback riding fits into that philosophy because, Jones says, it widens their horizons and allows them to consider possibilities they may not have ever pondered before.

"Their facial expressions, it speaks volumes to just how excited they are and how much they cherish these opportunities," Jones said at the ranch Thursday, watching his campers enjoy the experience.

Horseback riding is also therapeutic. It instills confidence in kids. In some cases, climbing onto the back of such a large animal allows them to conquer a fear. One volunteer counselor tells a story of one girl who did just that.

"She said I'm not getting on horses, I have a phobia of horses, I'm not getting on, then she was the first to get on, she loved it!" said counselor Taryn Armstrong-Jackson. "My kids, you would not know that they're homeless, they have great attitudes, they're positive, they're friendly."

Jones hopes the campers see him as an example of someone who worked hard and succeeded, someone they literally look up to. Reality also is never far away. Camp is an escape from their lives in the homeless shelter. Are they jealous of kids who live in traditional homes, with parents who can afford to buy them whatever they need?

"No," answered camper Eddie Aponte, who's going into 9th grade, "because I used to have my normal house, I don't get mad about other kids, I'm actually happy about the other kids that they're not in my situation."

The goal of the Crew22 Training Camp is to, in effect, feed the campers enough motivation during the camp session to last them for life.

It gives "horsepower" a whole new meaning.


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VIDEO: James Jones supports 'Raise your voice' PSA

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James Jones Foundation Championing Children

JamesJonesHeat
FORT LAUDERDALE – The James Jones Legacy Foundation, which was launched by Miami Heat guard and two-time NBA champion James Jones and his wife Destiny in 2009, is expanding its Crew 22 Training Camps. The camps are geared toward children aged 11-14 who need role models.
Da-Venya Armstrong, executive director of the foundation, said middle school-age children were the most impressionable and the organization focuses its efforts to meet their needs.

“The James Jones Legacy Foundation is building partnerships with community stakeholders to provide positive opportunities in lives of children who need it,” Jones said. “By building character, confidence, aspirations and most importantly hope, we begin to lay the foundation for a better future.”
The foundation has forged a partnership with the Broward Sheriff’s Office to expand its Crew 22 Training Camps to Broward, which will combine team activities and individual empowerment sessions.
 “We could really make a difference because we believe at that age, students are becoming young adults,” Armstrong said.  “Academically and socially, we thought that we could add the most value to their lives at that point.”
The partnership was celebrated on June 26 with a cocktail party held at the Urban League of Broward County’s Sunshine Health Empowerment Center in Fort Lauderdale.
“We are proud to host the introduction event for the James Jones Legacy Foundation,” said Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh, president/CEO of the Urban League of Broward County.
“James is an exceptional leader and aside from the possibilities he has provided to the Urban League, he is going to continue to transform the lives of children living in South Florida.”
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Bobby DuBose were among those in attendance, along with Urban League board members and executives from American Express, His House Children’s Home, MetLife and Sunshine Health.
“Children don’t only have needs in Miami-Dade County,” Armstrong said. “They were just as interested of bringing our programs and services to Broward County.”
According to the James Jones Legacy Foundation website, the Crew 22 Training Camps provide a comprehensive camp experience for children, offering them both curriculum rich in a variety of life skills and a few days of “fun” that allows them simply to be children.
Fitness and nutrition are introduced from the outset through physical activities followed by healthy meals and snacks.
The educational components include empowerment sessions conducted by experts in areas such as leadership, social development. The foundation will sponsor camps at Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay Campus in Miami-Dade County July 23-26 and at Nova Southeastern University in Broward County July 30-Aug. 1.
The idea for holding the camps on college campuses is to expose the campers to the college environment.
“These kids will be first-generation college kids,” Armstrong said. “[The foundation] wants to provide positive learning experiences. We are training kids for life.”


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James Jones Excercises Option

JamesJonesHeat
MIAMI (AP) — James Jones and Rashard Lewis have exercised their player options to remain with the Miami Heat next season.

Both moves were expected, and announced Tuesday. Jones is due to make $1.5 million this coming season, and is coming off a year where he scored 60 points in 38 regular-season appearances.

Lewis will make just under $1.4 million, and averaged 5.2 points in 55 games in his first Heat season.

Miami still has a team option to pick up on starting point guard Mario Chalmers, who will make $4 million next year if he remains with the Heat. Miami has until Sunday to exercise its option on Chalmers, who said on Tuesday that he expects to hear formal word from the team in the next couple of days.


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James Jones Wins Another NBA Championship



James Jones, "It's just an honor and privilege to play with these guys. This is the hardest-working team in sports."


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James Jones plans to return to Heat next season

JamesJonesHeat
MIAMI — James Jones talked about retiring after last season. But there are no such thoughts now.

The Miami shooting guard plans to pick up his $1.5 million player option for next season and return to the Heat.

“Unless something crazy happens, I’ll be back,’’ Jones said Wednesday in an interview with FOX Sports Florida.

Jones said after the Heat won the championship last season he “most definitely’’ was thinking about retiring. But he returned this season and now says he’s not considering retirement.

“Not at all,’’ Jones said. “Those stories get blown up.’’

Jones, 32, is making $1.76 million this season, although he has a total take of $3.35 million when one considers buyout money he got from the Heat in the summer of 2010. After making $1.5 million next season, Jones then plans to evaluate his situation.

“I got one more year, and we’ll see where it goes from there,’’ Jones said of what he might do after next season.

The 10-year veteran played in just 38 regular-season games this season and averaged 1.6 points. It’s not out of the question, though, he could play a bigger role for the Heat next year.

Shooting guard Ray Allen won’t make a decision until after the season whether he will pick up his $3.23 million option for 2013-14. And there’s a strong chance the Heat will release shooting guard Mike Miller as part of the NBA’s amnesty rule.


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(foxsportsflorida.com)
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Dwyane Wade cheers on Marquette, praises Hurricanes

JamesJonesHeat
NEW ORLEANS —    Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade found himself conflicted while watching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He won't face a similar challenge in the Elite Eight.

Thursday night, while preparing for Friday's game against the New Orleans Hornets, Wade watched his alma mater Marquette defeat the University of Miami, a team he had otherwise thrown his support behind this past season.

However, with Indiana losing to Syracuse to set up a Saturday Syracuse-Marquette game in the East Regional final, it won't create a case of mixed allegiances, with Indiana coached by Tom Crean, who coached Wade at Marquette.

"It was an unbelievable season by the Miami Hurricanes, really helping bringing more attention to Miami basketball with the great season they had," Wade said. "Obviously, I'm excited for Marquette to finally get over the hump, going to the Sweet 16 three years in a row and finally getting over that hump. And the performance that they put on was pretty impressive. I'm looking forward to the next challenge."

Wade, though, did take time to tease teammate James Jones, a University of Miami graduate.

Asked what his rooting choice would have been had Indiana advanced to play Marquette, Wade said, "You know what? I wouldn't have had one. I was in a win-win situation if that would have happened. When Indiana got that draw against Syracuse, I knew it was going to be a tough one, but I would have been in a win-win situation."


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(sun-sentinel.com)
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Sweet 16 matchup draws Jones, Wade attention

JamesJonesHeat
ORLANDO — Last year it was Dwyane Wade versus Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller.

This time, Wade is up against James Jones.

For the second consecutive year, Wade's collegiate team will face the alma mater of a teammate in the NCAA Tournament. It happens when Marquette plays the University of Miami on Thursday in the Sweet 16.

"Me and James are going to have a lot of dialogue over the next couple days, I can tell you that," Wade said. "It's great. First of all, for Miami I'm very excited for Coach (Jim) Larranaga and that program and what he was able to accomplish. That's a very good team over there."

With that said, Wade is banking on the Golden Eagles collecting a victory. Last year they fell to the University of Florida, where Haslem and Miller played.

"I'm excited for Marquette to be back in the Sweet 16 again," Wade said. "I don't want my team to be satisfied with that. I feel like we've been there the past three years. We haven't done anything. I look for good basketball. Obviously, I want Marquette to win but good luck to Coach Larranaga and 'The U.' It's special. Whichever teams wins, deserves it."

Jones sounded the more confident of the two. In the past, the Heat players have made friendly side bets during the tournament.

Jones said there is no need.

"Either way, it goes we're both excited that both teams will be there," Jones said. "But a victory for me is the only thing that matters. There is no side bet. I don't even think it's fair because I think my team is going to winlb_icon1 anyway. Knowing this going in, it wouldn't be right for me to bet him anything."


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(sun-sentinel.com)
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VIDEO: proCane James Jones Stars In Miami Heat Harlem Shake as Clown




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Hurricanes, Heat share unique colleges-pro bond in Miami

JamesJonesHeat
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Behind University of Miami assistant coach Chris Caputo's desk in his office, a photo of the Miami Heat's big three is tacked up against the wall. In the lobby of the Miami men's basketball office, a copy of ESPN the Magazine's music issue, featuring LeBron James on the cover.

Those are just some of the more subtle reminders of the superstars who live next door.

There are the other photos, the ones of James, Dwyane Wade and Miami alum James Jones sitting courtside when Miami played North Carolina in early February. There are the stories of James and Wade copy-catting dunk moves from the Hurricanes, and of Chris Bosh's call-to-arms speech two summers ago.

Coming off a loss in the NBA Finals and heading into the uncertainty of a lockout, Bosh was in an unusual mental state when he joined Hurricanes players for pickup games.

"I didn't know if I was going to play basketball again," Bosh said Tuesday night. "I just kept thinking, 'What if I had done this? What if I had done that?' I just told them to work harder so they wouldn't have any regrets."

Bosh lectured the players, telling them winning — and the chance to play in the NBA — doesn't come easily. They had to be more competitive, work harder off the court.

Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga has called it the best five-minute speech he's ever heard and has not been shy about praising Bosh for igniting the fire in his players. "The message was clear: You've got to work very hard," Larranaga said.

"He gives me way more credit than I deserve," Bosh said, laughing. "He's the coach. He motivates those guys daily. Those guys do their job daily. They deserve the credit."

The ties between the pro and college programs go deeper than one brief speech that kickstarted a program revival. Heat players work out at the Hurricanes' facilities in the summer. Larranaga has worked Wade's fantasy camp. Both coaching staffs get along well, invite one another to their games and see the benefit of a mutual partnership.

Larranaga hopes the glamorous ties will help recruiting; Heat coach Eric Spoelstra hopes it helps encourage more and more kids in Miami to get into the sport of basketball.

"I'd love to see this town become a basketball town," Spoelstra said this week. "I've probably gotten to know Coach Larranaga better than any of the previous coaches. I've been over there at their facilities, talking shop with them. They've been over here. I've gotten to know his entire staff. I think it's great."


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(usatoday.com)
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James Jones and Pat Riley at Battioke 2013 sing Cee Lo's Forget You




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