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Warriors pick up 4th-year option on center Damian Jones

Damian Jones, Warriors

The Golden State Warriors have exercised center Damian Jones’ fourth-year team option for 2019-20, the team announced Tuesday.

The 7-footer had played in only 25 games through his first two years with the team before starting each of this season’s games at the center position, bringing a mix of effective paint scoring and strong defense as a floor-running big man.

Jones is making just north of $1.5 million for this season and will get a nice raise to $2.3 million for the 2019-20 season. The Warriors could have potentially saved salary and luxury taxes by allowing Jones to become an unrestricted free agent next July and entertain offers on the open market without having the rights to match them.

The move was made anticipating the likely departure of DeMarcus Cousins in free agency and a potential contract conflict with forward/center Kevon Looney, who took a one-year, $1.57 million offer to return to the team this past summer.

Jones has averaged 6.0 points on 77.8 percent shooting along with 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 16.9 minutes through eight games as a starter.

Head coach Steve Kerr picked Jones over Looney and Jordan Bell due to his size and ability to set screens similar to the ones provided by bigger bodies in the past like Andrew Bogut, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee.

Damian Jones has had a slow but steady trajectory since being picked with the 30th overall selection by the Warriors in 2016 out of Vanderbilt, one that is only expected to accelerate over the course of the season as he picks up more experience.