JER­MAINE JONES LEAV­ING COLORADO

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Daniel Boni­face Dan Boni­face: 303-954-1104, dboni­face@den­ver­post.com or @daniel­boni­face

The Rapids have traded Jer­maine Jones’ MLS rights to the Los An­ge­les Gal­axy for two draft picks, the team an­nounced Tues­day.

The Rapids re­ceived the Gal­axy’s first-round pick in the 2017 Su­perDraft and a con­di­tional sec­ond-round se­lec­tion in 2018. Los An­ge­les cur­rently holds the No. 15 over­all choice in the 2017 draft, to be held Jan. 13. If it ends up with more than one first-round pick, the Rapids would get the high­est choice.

“This was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion, con­sid­er­ing what Jer­maine brought to the Rapids dur­ing his time with us,” Rapids pres­i­dent Tim Hinchey said in a news re­lease.

The deal does not come as a sur­prise as Jones has a home in Los An­ge­les and was seen court­side at a Lak­ers game last week with Gal­axy gen­eral man­ager Peter Va­ge­nas.

“I al­ways said that I wanted to come to Colorado to build some­thing with this group, and that is what we did,” Jones said in a news re­lease. “We proved a lot of peo­ple wrong dur­ing the course of the year, and play­ing a part in that was very spe­cial.”

Jones played in nine reg­u­larsea­son games in his only sea­son in Colorado, scor­ing three goals and ad­ding two as­sists. He missed six games be­cause of sus­pen­sion, an­other three while on na­tional team duty and then missed 16 con­sec­u­tive games with a knee in­jury suf­fered July 4.

The 35-year-old U.S. in­ter­na­tional re­turned for the play­offs, ap­pear­ing in four matches, notch­ing an as­sist in 308 min­utes.

Jones is cur­rently out of con­tract and will need to sign a new deal with MLS in or­der to play for the Gal­axy. Last year he earned $650,000, down from $3.05 mil­lion in 2015. He said af­ter the sea­son, he wanted to be back at a des­ig­nated player level salary.

“With this trade, we gain a lot of flex­i­bil­ity and a chance to get an­other young prospect through the MLS Su­perDraft,” Hinchey said. “Dur­ing the next cou­ple of months, we will look to con­tinue to add tal­ented play­ers and fur­ther de­velop what is al­ready a solid ros­ter foun­da­tion.”

The Life of Pablo. ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle on Tues­day re­ported the Rapids have signed man­ager Pablo Mas­troeni to a three-year con­tract ex­ten­sion. A team spokesman de­clined to con­firm the re­port. Mas­troeni led the Rapids to their best reg­u­lar sea­son in team his­tory in 2016 (15-6-13), fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the Sup­port­ers’ Shield race and qual­i­fy­ing for CON­CA­CAF Cham­pi­ons League for the sec­ond time in team his­tory. Hinchey said last month the club wanted to re-sign the long-time club leg­end as its man­ager dur­ing the off­sea­son.

Smooth moves. The Rapids left their start­ing cen­ter back Jared Watts un­pro­tected in Tues­day’s MLS Ex­pan­sion Draft, but only be­cause they knew they wouldn’t lose him. A league source con­firmed Tues­day that the trades Colorado made Sun­day with At­lanta United and Min­nesota United both in­cluded a guar­an­tee that the ex­pan­sion teams would not se­lect a Rapids player.

Pa­trick Tray­lor, The Den­ver Post

Jer­maine Jones, left, scored three goals and two as­sists in nine games since join­ing the Rapids in March.

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