Jim Mancari, SNYNets.comNEW YORK — The Nets went back to the future by signing Damion Jones to a 10-day contract. After being selected in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft, James—selected by the Atlanta Hawks before being traded to the Nets—spent two years with the club before his third year rookie option was declined.
James began this NBA season as a member of the NBDL's Bakersfield Jam. He averaged 15.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game. Having seemingly proven himself on the NBA's smaller stage, the Nets opted to sign James to a 10-day contract and give him the 15th and final roster spot that was opened up when the club waived Josh Childress back on Dec. 29.
James played 32 games for the Nets over the past two seasons, but his Nets’ tenure was clouded by constant injuries.
James said that it is a blessing to be back in the NBA after playing 17 games for the Bakersfield Jam and said he was surprised that Brooklyn, his former NBA team, was the team that gave him the call.
“It feels like home that I’m back with the guys,” James said before the game. “These guys I went to war with for two years when I wasn’t hurt. Just to be in this position and come back and play with these guys, it’s like I never left.”
He felt right at home in this morning’s shootaround as well, given his background with the team.
“It feels like I never missed a beat,” he said. “It’s still the same plays and schemes, and I came in this morning and fit right in.”
While he’s no stranger to missing time with injuries, he said he’s now 100 percent and that his foot injuries have completely healed. With the Nets dealing with injuries to several forwards, James might be thrust into action soon.
“Damion was a great pickup because we know him; he knows us,” said head coach P.J. Carlesimo, who said he was unsure exactly how he would use James. “He’s got some familiarity with our system. He’s very competitive. He’s aggressive. He can really defend. He’s active. We won’t hesitate to put him out there.”
James said that he’s been following the team, since he’s still friends with many of the Nets. He said the team is different now that it is winning, as opposed to the past two years he played here.
Being back with the Nets, James said, has made him hungrier to succeed in the NBA.
“I feel like I’m back home,” he said, “but a lot better.”
Gerald Wallace will miss tonight's game with bruised ribs, meaning Ketih Bogans will get the start. Jerry Stackhouse and Mirza Teletvovic are both active, but James said he will be ready if called upon.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.