Sports

Jones set to sign multiyear deal with the Sun

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Bahamian Jonquel ‘JJ’ Jones and the Connecticut Sun are finalizing a multiyear contract as the team looks to keep her in the orange, blue and white of the Sun for the rest of her WNBA career, according to Rachel Galligan of Just Women’s Sports.

The Sun placed a core tag on the forward/center which give them exclusive negotiating rights with her. Teams were officially able to begin negotiations with players on January 15, but deals cannot be finalized until February 1.

With the Sun placing the core designation tag on Jones, it meant that she can sign a one-year, $228,094 supermax deal. The multiyear deal she plans to sign with Connecticut is less than the supermax, according to sources, giving the team more cap space to work with in free agency.

Jones is one of five former MVPs in this year’s free agent class which includes seven of the 10 players from last season’s All-WNBA teams.

The 2022 free agent class has top-level players such as Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm), A’Ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces), Liz Cambage (Las Vegas Aces), Sylvia Fowles 

(Minnesota Lynx), Kahleah Copper (Chicago Sky), Jewell Lloyd (Seattle Storm) and Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky).

The Grand Bahama native’s resigning is a focal point for the Sun as they are looking to improve on their 26-6 win/loss record from the past season. The goal in the upcoming season is to win a championship and, should both sides agree, it will be a huge step in that direction.

Apart from receiving 48 of the 49 first-place votes and 487 points to secure her first MVP Award last season, Jones was an All-WNBA First Team member and made her third all-star appearance that included her almost winning the WNBA MTN DEW Three-Point Contest during the all-star activities.

Jones averaged a double-double with 19.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. She was fourth in the league in scoring and led the league in rebounding for the third time in her career. Jones also averaged 2.8 assists per game and was top 10 in the league in blocks at 1.3 per game. She added 1.3 steals per game. Jones secured 18 double-doubles in 27 games played.

For her consistent efforts on the season, the Sun player was named WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for May, August and September. In addition to the three player of the month awards, the former George Washington University standout also carted off four Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards.

It is the offseason in the WNBA, and Jones is in Ekaterinburg, Russia, playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Premier League.

In their last game on Wednesday, a 93-37 blowout home victory against Sparta & K, the Bahamian was dominant as she posted 17 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots.

It has been a perfect season so far for her and UMMC in both league and regional play. In the Russian Premier League, they sport a 16-0 win/loss record and they are 11-0 in the FIBA Women’s EuroLeague competition.

Next up for UMMC is a EuroLeague match that will be played on their home court against KSC Szekszard on Saturday, January 29.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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