HBO’s ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty‘ follows the LA Lakers basketball team as they establish an era of dominance under owner Jerry Buss during the 1980s. In the show’s second season, Buss prepares to make some changes after the team’s shocking loss in the first-round playoffs of the 1980-81 season. One of these changes is trading veteran player Jim Chones to a new team, which becomes a hotly debated topic among the coaches and the player himself. As a result, viewers must be curious to learn about the reason behind the trade. In that case, here is why the Lakers traded Jim Chones and what happened to him after leaving the Lakers!
Why Did LA Lakers Trade Jim Chones?
James Bernett “Bunny” Chones, better known as Jim Chones, was born in Racine, Wisconsin, on November 30, 1949. He attended St. Catherine High School in his hometown. Chones came into the limelight during his time at Marquette University, where he played basketball between 1970 and 1972. The 6 foot 11 inches Power Forward impressed with his performances at the college level averaging 20.5 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Chones left college before graduating to pursue a professional basketball career in the ABA. He was signed by New York Nets in 1972 and made his professional debut for the side.
Chones left the Nets after just one season to play for Carolina Cougars in the ABA before he was signed by the NBA side Cleveland Cavaliers in 1974. In the process, Chones became a bit of a journeyman but was well-respected for his rebounding skills. After playing for the Cavaliers between 1974 and 1979, Chones was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Chones won the 1980 NBA Championship with the LA Lakers. However, on July 23, 1981, Chones was traded to the Washington Bullets.
It was reported that Chones and teammate, Brad Holland, were transferred to the Bullets as a part of the Lakers’ deal to sign Mitch Kupchak. It was also reported that the then Head Coach Paul Westhead favored signing Kupchak in exchange for Chones and Holland moving in the other direction. However, unlike the depiction in ‘Winning Time,’ where actor Newton Mayenge plays a fictionalized version of Chones, the real-life basketball player had no qualms with his move to the Washington Bullets. “There wasn’t any ego involved, and I can’t complain. I was on a world championship team one year, and that was a dream come true for me,” Chones told the Washington Post in 1981 about his departure from the Lakers.
Where Is Jim Chones Now?
After leaving the LA Lakers, Chones played for the Washington Bullets during the 1982-83 NBA season. He played 59 games for the Bullets in his solitary season with the franchise, averaging just 3.1 points per game. After a brief stint in Italy, Chones announced his retirement from professional basketball. Chones ended his career with 788 games played across NBA and ABA. He finished his career with an average of 12.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the NBA, having transformed from a Power Forward to a Center in the latter stages of his career. Following his retirement, Chones remained connected with the sport of basketball, serving as a television color analyst for the Cleveland Cavaliers for several years.
Chones served as the Director of Sports and Leagues at the City of Bedford Heights between 2006 and 2009. He became a Radio Commentator for his former team, Cleveland Cavaliers, starting in 2007. As of 2023, Chones continues working as a radio announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is married to Elores Chones, and the couple has five children, namely Kaayla Chones, Kendall Chones, Kyle Chones, Kameron Chones, and Kareeda Chones. All five of the Chones siblings have played basketball at the Division 1 level. Chones is currently 73 years old and resides in Beachwood, Ohio. Chones maintains an online presence through several social media platforms.