Mavericks starter made right decision by not signing with other contender

Dallas Mavericks, Derrick Jones Jr.
Dallas Mavericks, Derrick Jones Jr. / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks are one win away from making a return to the Western Conference Finals. One of the revelations for the team has been Derrick Jones Jr., whose defense, energy, rim-running skills, and ability to knock down outside shots has been a huge lift to the Mavs' playoff run.

He had arguably the best postseason game of his career in Game 5, scoring 19 points on 7-9 shooting as Dallas clinched the pivotal win on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The undrafted forward's previous performances have been crucial for the squad, which has seen several players struggle.

Jones Jr. has proven valuable to the Mavs and is likely looking at a bigger payday in free agency. The good news for the organization and its fans is that he has reportedly proclaimed that he wants to be back.

Derrick Jones Jr. made the right decision by not signing with Boston Celtics

The 2023 offseason was quite a coup for Dallas, signing Jones Jr. to a one-year minimum deal. He was coming off an uneven stint with the Chicago Bulls, who had him in and out of the lineup and even playing small-ball center in some lineups. 

Looking for a fresh start, Jones Jr. decided to head to the Mavs. However, other teams apparently sought his services, including the Bulls and Phoenix Suns. His agent, Aaron Turner, recently told The Athletic (subscription required) that he and the eight-year veteran narrowed down the options to two destinations: the Mavs and Boston Celtics.

The Celtics would have been a solid choice, especially after they finished the regular season with the best record and are the first team to reach the conference finals. However, it's unclear what role he would have had with them.

On the Mavs, he has worked his way to the starting lineup and should have been in consideration for a spot in the All-Defensive teams if it were not for a ridiculous rule that rendered him ineligible. Coming to the Mavs over the Celtics was likely the right decision due to the huge role he has earned with the Mavericks, and now he has likely earned himself a nice contract later this summer.

Dallas has a good chance of finishing off the Thunder on Friday, as the contest will be held at American Airlines Center. In addition, it has found an effective weapon against MVP runner-up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. According to's matchup data, Jones Jr. has matched up the most against Gilgeous-Alexander on defense in the playoffs, holding him to 33.3 percent shooting. 

It remains to be seen if the Mavs can finish off Oklahoma City in Game 6 and book their second trip to the Western Conference Finals in three years.

Stay tuned in to read more about Derrick Jones Jr. and the Dallas Mavericks.