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Still a Heat at heart


Justin Marville

Still a Heat at heart

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IT SEEMS THAT LEBRON isn’t the only James who wants to be a part of the NBA’s newest super-team in Miami. Free agent forward James Jones isn’t ruling out a return to the Heat, even after Miami bought out his contract to clear cap space to assemble their new superstar trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.The sharpshooting, seven-year veteran expressed a great interest to stay in South Beach while conducting his annual JHoops Live basketball camp for Barbados’ best junior players yesterday at the Wildey Gymnasium.“That’s my city, that’s where I grew up,” said the Miami native, who revealed that a return to the Heat was his first option.“I grew up watching Heat basketball and was a part of the Heat family and hopefully something can happen that can become a reality. “If it doesn’t then it doesn’t, [but] I’m happy for the city anyway; I’m just happy for the Heat organisation; I’m happy for my teammates and D-Wade. He’s going to have a supporting cast that can help him win a championship,” he added. A former second-round pick of the Pacers back in 2003, Jones, whose wife Destiny is Bajan-born, has made a name for himself as a specialist three-point shooting forward during a seven-year career that includes stops in Indiana, Phoenix, Portland, and most recently Miami. However, the Heat bought out his contract this off-season as part of a grand plan to create as much salary cap space to keep Finals MVP Dwyane Wade, while surrounding him with other superstar talent. That plan came to fruition when Wade and Bosh announced their intention to sign with Miami on Wednesday, before James made his televised “decision” to join the fellow All-Stars in South Beach just a day later on an hour-long ESPN programme. “This is going to be great for the city,” said Jones’ of Miami’s new superstar signings. “I know everyone down there’s excited and the NBA [as] a whole. Everyone was waiting to see what would happen with those three and [now] they found out. “Now, Miami has a powerhouse team and it’s up to everyone else to try to dethrone the ‘Three Kings’, as they call them.” But the Heat are still in the hunt for complementary players, as their house clearing has left the franchise with just the three All-Stars and point guard Mario Chalmers currently under contract. And one of those players on Miami’s wish list could be the same Jones, whose career 39.5 per cent mark from behind the arc makes him a perfect fit on a roster desperate for three-point shooting to stretch the floor for Wade, James, and Bosh.  “I feel everyone wants someone like me, a guy that can make shots and doesn’t need a million touches,” reasoned Jones, before he took the floor to teach some warm-up drills. “There’s always an opportunity to add shooting and I’m pretty sure that they’re going through a list of players and try to make some personnel decisions.” Jones also revealed that there’s been interest from at least seven other teams, one of which is rumoured to be reigning NBA champs Los Angeles Lakers, whose recent signing Steve Blake shares Jones’ agent. “Every player wants to play for a contender, and they’re a team that needs shooting,” Jones said of possibly playing for Los Angeles.  “You’d be playing with arguably the best player in the world and who wouldn’t relish that opportunity? “[But] Miami is always my first place [because] that’s the place where I was born, the place where I was raised, and that’s where I left a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” added Jones. This was the second year Jones conducted the JHoops Live camp, which focuses on teaching and reinforcing basic basketball fundamentals.

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