- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 21, 2002

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Free-agent forward Popeye Jones, who last season played a secondary but important role for the Washington Wizards, signed a one-year contract yesterday with the Dallas Mavericks, the team with which he started his NBA career.
The Wizards decided not to re-sign Jones, who played two seasons with the team and started 40 games at small forward while playing in 79 and averaging 7.0 points and 7.3 rebounds last season. All together, he had his best season since 1996-97, when he played with Toronto.
With scoring not one of his stronger points, Jones, 32, made his contributions with fierce rebounding and solid team play. He could shoot from the outside and made 81.5 percent of his free throw attempts. Jones started 24 games in January and February in place of Christian Laettner and averaged 8.8 points.
When the Wizards drafted Jared Jeffries and signed free agent Bryon Russell, both small forwards, Jones became expendable. Washington also began to stockpile players the Wizards now have 16 under contract, one more than the league maximum and fitting Jones on the roster was a problem.
The Wizards acquired Jones two years ago from the Denver Nuggets for Tracy Murray and a 2002 second-round pick. Jones is entering his 10th NBA season and spent his first three with the Mavericks.
Duff Durkin


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