Jones announced his retirement on Wednesday and will join the Suns as the team's new vice president of basketball operations. Jones earned the nickname "Champ" while helping the Heat win NBA titles in 2012 and 2013. He joined the Cavaliers in 2014 and helped Cleveland win the NBA Finals in 2016 as the Cavs reached the Finals in three straight seasons.
Jones was a second-round pick of the Pacers in 2003 and played for the Suns from 2005-07. Suns owner Robert Sarver said during Wednesday's introductory press conference that Jones is "intimately familiar with what it takes to win a championship."
Jones, 36, said "it was time" to retire because he's "not a young guy in basketball terms."
"It seemed like the perfect spot to invest my energy," Jones said Wednesday. "I just knew this was the right time to come back home."
Sarver and general manager Ryan McDonough, who received a contract extension, both said the only thing remaining for the Suns to accomplish as a franchise is to win a championship.
"We have laid the foundation for what we hope will become the next championship-caliber Suns team," McDonough said. "There is still a lot of work to be done to reach our ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Phoenix so we are thrilled to add James Jones to our staff.
"James has a wealth of experiences that will greatly benefit our organization. He is a three-time NBA champion and has been one of the top executives with the National Basketball Players Association over the past few years. We welcome ‘Champ’ and his family to our Phoenix Suns family."
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert released a statement Wednesday evening wishing Jones, who has been an NBA players union representative over the last eight years, well in his new position.
"Congratulations to James Jones on what has been one of the most successful NBA careers a player can have," Gilbert said Jones. "Being widely known as one of the best teammates ever is possibly the greatest tribute a player could receive and he has earned that reputation with hard work, incredible consistency, dependability, strong character and trust. He is a champion and role model on the court, in the locker room, in the community and as a mentor and friend to many across the NBA.
"'Champ' is one of those special people that helps create success wherever they are, in many different ways, with character and brains that are on un-paralleled levels. We wish 'Champ,' his wife Destiny and their children, J.D., Jadynn and Jodie, the very best as they move into the next phase of their basketball journey and life in Phoenix. We also thank Champ and Destiny greatly for the positive impact they made as Cavaliers and in the Cleveland community as well."