Dequan Jones was one of the feel-good stories of the offseason anywhere in basketball.
Here was an undrafted reserve guard from Miami (Fla.) who got a chance to impress at the Magic's Summer League, got an invite to training camp and then unseated a veteran in Quentin Richardson to earn a roster spot. Then there he was two game sinto the season starting.
It was incredible. Unfortunately, Dequan Jones will have to do it all over again.
The Magic announced Saturday that they will not extend Jones a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent once free agency begins on July 1. The Magic are expected to invite Jones to play on the team's Summer League roster, but that offers no guarantee.
Jones averaged 3.7 points per game and shot 43.5 percent from the floor in 63 appearances for the Magic. That included 17 starts. Again, impressive for an undrafted rookie who never started a game in college and averaged only 14.5 minutes per game in his four-year career. Jones showed how hard work can pay off.
However, as nice as that story was, Jones was in and out of the rotation in Orlando, even on an incredibly young team, and was not much of a standout except for the occasional high-flying dunk. He is a player worth keeping around at this stage in the Magic's development but it is hard to envision anything too far into the future.
Jones should have a leg up on any newcomers as he will join Magic regulars Maurice Harkless, Kyle O'Quinn, Andrew Nicholson and Tobias Harris on the Magic's Summer League team. Rookies Victor Oladipo and Romero Osby will also participate on the team. Rob Hennigan confirmed Keith Clanton also signed to be on the team for the Magic's week in Orlando from July 7-12. Andrew Melnick of Orlando Magic Basketball Online has compiled all the known members of the Summer League team. It includes Saint Mary's sharpshooter Matthew Dellavadova.
With the July 1 deadline creeping up before free agency begins, the Magic also announced they intend to guarantee the next season on E'Twaun Moore's contract.
Moore was learning the point guard position on the fly last year as a backup to Jameer Nelson. He averaged 7.8 points per game and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 39.6 percent from the floor and 30.4 percent from beyond the arc. Moore showed improved playmaking ability and an ability to score some himself. He hit a nasty cold stretch toward the end of the season and still seems a bit undersized to play shooting guard for long stretches.
The Magic do not have any other point guards on the roster besides Jameer Nelson, however. It is not expected that the Magic will re-sign Beno Udrih.