Derrick Jones Jr. leaves Heat for Trail Blazers in NBA free agency

By Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

Derrick Jones Jr., the high-flying forward who won the NBA's dunking championship during last season's All-Star Weekend, has left the Miami Heat for the Portland Trail Blazers in NBA free agency.

Jones on Friday night agreed to a two-year, $19 million deal with the Trail Blazers, with the second year a player option. The deal is fully guaranteed, an NBA source confirmed to the Sun Sentinel. He earned $1.6 million with the Heat this past season.

A deft defender, particularly in the Heat's zone defense, Jones struggled to carve an offensive niche with the Heat this past season, falling out of the team's rotation in the playoffs.

The Heat had the salary-cap resources to match the Trail Blazers' offer, but declined to offer more than a single guaranteed season, with an eye on maximizing 2021 salary-cap space.


Jones, 23, joined the Heat in December 2017 and had played himself into the rotation, only to lose that role after the team acquired Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala at the Feb. 6 NBA trading deadline.

The Heat's previous two agreements Friday night, with Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard, included only a single guaranteed season, with a team option for the second in each case.

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