Tyronn Lue Says Dahntay Jones Used to Be an ‘A——‘ and ‘Arrogant, Cocky Dude’

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Dahntay Jones’ tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers was short but memorable.

Now retired, the wing played his final two NBA seasons with the Cavs, but was only signed to join the team down the stretch.

Jones was initially signed by Cleveland near the end of the 2015-16 season. He played in only one regular season game that year.

He was again signed near the end of 2016-17. And once again he only played in one regular season game.

The gritty veteran, however, played in 25 playoff games over those two years.

According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Jones was originally brought to the team by Tyronn Lue, who was the coach at the time. Lue hoped that Jones could instill toughness and stability to a team fighting for a title.

Lue said that he and Jones had been friends for 20 years, and he witnessed the evolution of the former Duke University standout.

“He’s changed a lot,” Lue said. “When I first met him, he was an asshole. He was an arrogant, cocky dude. I think as he got older, he understood and he learned from all the different people he played with and all the things he saw in the NBA.”

It was a smart move by Lue, who saw LeBron James occasionally clashing with fellow stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.

And if Jones had been an “arrogant, cocky dude” before, he wasn’t when he got to Cleveland.

“He was just such a good teammate,” Cavs big man Channing Frye said. “He was that extra piece who helped us get to the top. He challenged us, whether we were in the gym, running on the treadmill or talking trash to the other team.”

For Jones, who was essentially retired before joining the Cavs, it was a great opportunity.

“I told my wife, I said I’m going to go hang out with Ty and LeBron a little bit,” Jones said. “Try and help those guys win a championship. Provide the type of services that I normally do and they’re going to give me an opportunity to do it, and who knows what comes from it after that?”

The move worked out, as Jones appeared in six games during the 2016 NBA Finals when the Cavs beat the Golden State Warriors to win the championship.

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Brady Klopfer is a basketball writer and editor based out of Los Angeles. His work can also be found at The Athletic, SB Nation, and Bballbreakdown.