Late Wednesday night, the Golden State Warriors announced they have waived guard Cameron Jones.
Such a move is quite unfortunate, as Jones was seemingly making continuous progress from month to month. Fresh off an "All-NBADL First Rookie" team selection in 2011-12, Jones was traded to the Santa Cruz Warriors. It was there (much closer to home for Jones) that he took off like a rocket and began to flourish.
Embracing a more notable role for Santa Cruz last season, Jones proved he can sometimes handle the scoring load (when necessary) and be "the man," in addition to a team player. Following a season during which he helped lead the Warriors to an NBA D-League Finals appearance (he averaged 12.6 points on 48% from the field to go along with 1.3 steals per contest in the regular season), the league recognized Jones' progress with a "Most Improved Player" award on the year.
After following his efforts quite closely, the (Golden State) Warriors have become very high on Jones' potential and abilities. The organization brought him aboard their NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas. It was there that the guard proved once again he can readily contribute to a winning culture. His team won the Summer League championship.
It made sense that after his strong showing in Vegas, Jones received an invite to Warriors' training camp this month. But given all his success and progress to date, his release at this point comes as a surprise.
With that in mind, one has to wonder what's next for Jones. It's undeniable that he likely stands tall as one of the closest D-League athletes to finally breaking into The Association. If his time isn't now, a team is certainly likely to pick him up as the minor league season progresses, be it the Warriors or any other NBA team, instead.
That's the good news. The bad news is such a waiting game becomes a risky time period for players of Jones' caliber. Assumedly, the Warriors have extended the invite and are looking forward to having back in Santa Cruz for the upcoming season. But after two rather stellar seasons in the D-League, playing the waiting game and continuing to ball it up in the minors isn't the most lucrative of opportunities.
At this point, does a player like Jones return to Santa Cruz (presumedly with worthwhile feedback from Golden State's staff) and hope for the best? Or, is now the time to capitalize on his recent success and instead catch on with a team overseas? It'll be interesting to see where he goes next.