At this stage of the offseason teams usually make only minor adjustments, but Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers seems to be on the shortlist of quite a few teams heading into next season, with the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers very interested in making a trade for him.
The Clippers have Pablo Prigioni, Austin Rivers and Lance Stephenson in the backcourt, so one might say that they have the luxury of trading Crawford if the deal is good. But he’s still a player who is an explosive scorer off the bench, averaging 15.8 points per game last season and 17 in his three seasons with the Clippers.
Crawford struggled with his accuracy last season, hitting only 39.6% of his shots in the regular season and falling to 32.7% from beyond the arc. It was even worse in the postseason (36/24.3%) but he’s never been very accurate in the playoffs, so the Clippers shouldn’t be that surprised. However, the addition of Stephenson and Prigioni while Rivers seems to be emerging as a legitimate player and not just someone with a dad who is looking out for him makes Crawford a bit expendable.
In come the suitors. While the Cavaliers have been unable to come to terms with J.R. Smith, rumors of their interest in Crawford has been carrying on for a long time. Crawford has one year left on his deal worth $5.6 million, and that makes it difficult for the Cavaliers, who aren’t flowing in draft picks either, to construct a deal.
The Miami Heat need some scoring off their bench, and the Dwyane Wade-Goran Dragic does need some rest. Mario Chalmers has been disappointing, and both his and Chris Andersen’s contracts fit with Crawford’s. However, the Clippers will probably want some kicker in the deal, and that’s a problem for Miami, as they can’t trade a first-round pick and have no unprotected second-rounder before 2021.
And the Knicks? Crawford played for the Knicks in the past, putting up some nice numbers including 20.6 per game in the 2007-2008 season, his career best. But no playoffs were ever made, and at this stage of his career (entering his 16th NBA season) he’s probably looking to play on a team with at least a shot at doing something in the postseason.