Unsolved Mysteries: The Curious Case of Dwayne Jones

My friend Mark from ShamSports has said it best:

I'm starting to think Dwayne Jones walks into workouts and shits all over GM's desks. He should have had a multi year NBA career by now.

While in-season tryouts usually aren't privy to public knowledge (the only D-League in-season tryouts I've been made aware of this season are the two with Jones, though I'm sure there are others),  it certainly strikes me as odd that he's 0-for-2 in getting a 10-day contract after averaging 16.8 points and 15.4 rebounds over the course of the season.

Jones first tryout of the season came on December 29th, when the Blazers were auditioning potential hardship exemption players to replace Greg Oden.  There, he and Jake Voskuhl lost out in a 3-man race to former Blazer Shavlik Randolph.  Knowing that Randolph probably had a good grasp of the system, this doesn't seem like a crazy decision, even though he didn't stick.

Tuesday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks brought Jones in for a tryout after losing bigman Erick Dampier to a dislocated finger, leaving the Mavs with a 6-foot-8 97-year old Eduardo Najera (decidedly not a center) as the team's emergency center.  Jake Voskuhl again was rumored as his competition.  Still, Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson told Marc Stein afterward that "the workout was great. [Jones] looked really good. For right now, we're going with a shooter and after 10 days we'll re-evaluate. Anything is possible."

I've been told by sources close to the situation that the "Mavs were going to sign two players, but at the last second they decided to sign one player ... economics," but there seems like there's more to this situation than meets the eye.

Regardless, yesterday's decision is a bit more difficult to justify than the Portland snub.  If Jones looked really good, what would he have needed to do in his workout to get the 10-day contract?  If he confirmed what the Mavericks already knew, which was that Jones' play has been intriguing enough to warrant a flight to Dallas for a closer look, why not give him a 10-day contract?  Was Nelson hoping he was going to be a better shooter than Von Wafer?

If you have any further information regarding this investigation, please contact your local D-League reporters via e-mail here or call 1-800-DLEAGUE-TIPS and speak to the operator (AKA, Jon L because my voice is still a bit raspy from the anesthetics).

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