"I like [Dwayne] Jones," said [Filipino National Team Coach Rajko] Toroman. "But we have to make a deal. Coach Greg Popovich (of the San Antonio Spurs) was very positive about him. I'm doing my best to get as much information as I can."
The Serbian coach saw Jones in the NBA D-League during a recent visit in the United States.
Toroman said Smart Gilas team manager Frankie Lim is on the negotiating table with the 26-year-old Jones, who played for the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Bobcats in the NBA.
Should talks with Jones fall through, Toroman said former UCLA Bruin Michael Fey (LA D-Fenders) or former PBA import Earl Barron (Iowa Energy) will be next in line.
The above quotes were pulled from a story yesterday on Team Pilipinas, a Filipino sports news site.
Originally, Toroman came to the United States to scout Barron and former Energy teammate Courtney Sims. Well, since then, Sims has left the D-League (I haven't heard where he's ended up) and apparently he saw Jones box score stat-stuffing and ventured to Austin to see him play as well. It probably doesn't hurt that his last name is Toroman and Jones plays for the Austin Toros, if you get what I mean *wink* *wink*.
More than likely, you're thinking "Wait, why in the hell would Dwayne Jones opt to become a naturalized Filipino when he's so close to the NBA?"
In response to that, I'll say I don't think he's as close to the NBA as we think. If you'll remember, I wasn't high on Jones at all earlier in the season (seems uninterested, is essentially a one-trick pony), but basically I tricked myself into thinking that because he's dominating in the D-League numbers wise, he's worth a call-up. Well, after two failed NBA tryouts, I've wavered on my Jones stance once again.
Here's why: He's not getting any better. This is his fifth professional season and he hasn't seemed to improved, markedly, at anything. He still picks up a lot of rebounds, but he's not become any better as a defensive player than what he was in college at St. Joseph's and his low-post game hasn't added anything of significance.
This isn't to say he's a terrible player or he shouldn't be in the NBA, but his skill-set is apparently not what the NBA is looking to bring in as an immediate contributor (judging by the Mavs tryout) and his age doesn't really reflect that of somebody an NBA team is going to bring in to develop.
At this point, I think it's probably in Jones best interest to take the money and run. With rumors that several big men will be bought out of their NBA contracts today, the job opportunities are going to become as scare as those for a D-League blogger. (Editor's note: Believe me, it's bad. I'm openly begging for any sort of gainful employment right now.)