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Lakers reportedly had ‘strong interest’ in re-signing Damian Jones

It’s been a tale of two offseasons for the Western Conference rivals.

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Before the Sacramento Kings guaranteed Damian Jones’ contract in August, the Los Angeles Lakers had hoped re-sign the 26-year-old center, according to a report from Marc Stein:

“League sources say that the Lakers had strong interest earlier in the summer in trying to reacquire Damian Jones, but Sacramento elected to retain Jones and make his contract guaranteed for the coming season even though the Kings already have Richaun Holmes, Tristan Thompson, Alex Len and (yes, still) Marvin Bagley III.”

Jones was provided a short stint to Los Angeles in the winter of 2021, signing two consecutive 10-contracts before signing two more 10-day contracts with Sacramento in March. Following his second 10-day contract with the Kings, the team offered him a multi-year deal with a non-guaranteed second year.

It’s no secret that Sacramento looked to solidify their center rotation this offseason, but their decision to bring back Holmes was certainly unexpected by Kings fans, especially after the team’s retention of Richaun Holmes and trade for Tristan Thompson. The Lakers undoubtedly would have preferred if the Kings waived Jones.

Jones could have played big man minutes in the absence of the injury-prone Anthony Davis and alongside him. Though Davis is reluctant to play the 5, having another traditional center in the lineup will be a crucial piece of Los Angeles’ success in the coming season.

Additionally, Jones was a member of the 2017 and 2018 championship Golden State Warriors, so he almost certainly could have helped in Los Angeles’ aspirations, providing youth to a veteran stacked roster.

With the Kings, Jones averaged 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds through 16 games played. Jones made two starts with Sacramento in his short stint with the team.