INDEPENDENCE — Cavaliers guard Damon Jones has an opinion on just about everything, but he isn’t sure why he fell out of coach Mike Brown’s rotation last season.
Equally uncertain whether he’s legitimately in the team’s plans for this season, the only thing the colorful veteran is sure of right now is that he’s still a member of the team.
“I’m just excited about being here right now and getting out here and practicing with these guys every day and having fun,” Jones said Wednesday at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
“What happens tomorrow, I don’t know. I’m not worried about that right now. I don’t, for the most part, control those cards. While I’m here, I’m going to be professional and give it all I’ve got.”
Jones, who is in the third season of a four-year, $16 million deal, asked general manager Danny Ferry, the man who signed him to that contract, to trade him shortly after the Cavaliers were swept by San Antonio in the NBA Finals.
That never materialized.
Even with Sasha Pavlovic absent from camp because he doesn’t have a contract and Eric Snow out for the entire preseason due to knee surgery, it doesn’t look like Jones is really in Cleveland’s plans.
Larry Hughes and Daniel Gibson, whose game went up several notches in the postseason, probably will be the Cavaliers’ starting guards when the regular season begins.
If Pavlovic signs a contract, he’ll likely get the majority of minutes off the bench — unless he’s traded. But even if Pavlovic doesn’t sign, the Cavaliers seem likely to take a look at second-year guard Shannon Brown and recently signed Devin Brown ahead of Jones.
“Mike Brown has a job to do,” Jones said. “For him to be successful, he has to go with what he thinks is best for the basketball team to win. As players, we have to be able to support what he does.
“Hopefully, it gets better, but it’s another season. I’m blessed to be here for my 10th (NBA) season.”
The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder began last year playing exceptional basketball, especially at the offensive end, but by the middle of the season he was an afterthought.
Though Mike Brown has talked repeatedly about Jones’ great help defense, the primary reason for the veteran’s disappearance from the rotation was likely due to the fact he’s not a very good on-the-ball defender.
“I don’t know if there’s one thing specifically,” Mike Brown said when asked why Jones fell out of the rotation. “We have a competitive basketball team. I’m going to play the guys I think can help us win at that time. That doesn’t mean this guy or that guy or Damon is a bad player.
“I’m just looking to win. However that may be, that’s what I’m paid to do.”
Jones, who did creep back into the rotation in the playoffs, is also paid — and paid quite well — to do a job, so for now he’s playing the good soldier.
“(Brown’s) the coach and I’m the player,” he said. “Whatever he feels is good for the basketball team (is OK). It’s part of being professional: You have to take the bumps with the bruises.”
Brown fighting back
Shannon Brown has filed assault charges after apparently being roughed up by bouncers at Liquid, a nightclub in Cleveland’s Warehouse District.
The incident, which occurred Saturday night, apparently started over Brown’s refusal to remove his baseball cap. Teammates Drew Gooden and Hughes were with the second-year guard, but were in other parts of the club at the time of the incident.
“We’re going through the legal process on it right now,” said Shannon Brown, whose father is a policeman in Illinois. “I’m going to respect that process by not commenting further at this time.”