Mike Barrett has now confirmed what 95.5 The Game reported and our good friend Douglast relayed in the sidebar. James Jones is not picking up the last year player's option on his contract and is now an UNrestricted free agent. Had Jones picked up his option the Blazers could have had him for one more year at $3.15 million.
Although it would have been nice to have JJ3 back for another year this move makes sense for him. After last year's performance he can probably get that much on the open market, plus another couple years besides. He was important to the Blazers last year but with Rudy Fernandez coming in plus our younger players (whichever are still here) still developing there's no guarantee he'd get that much opportunity again. Had he spent the year riding Portland's bench the interest may not have been there for him when he needed a new contract. Plus it was fairly unlikely that Portland would re-sign him after next season. He was a stopgap measure for us...an important one in this time of transition, but that was his role nonetheless.
As we said in the discussion of Channing Frye, Martell, Webster, and Jarrett Jack, players are professionals and have to make professional decisions about their careers. I appreciate everything James did but I don't begrudge him the chance to sign and play elsewhere. I doubt I've had taken $3 million for one year if I had a more attractive offer out there either.