12:54pm: Isola clarifies that the Knicks would have to be creative in constructing a deal for Crawford, suggesting the involvement of a third team would be a possibility (Twitter link).
11:51am: The Knicks have expressed interest in Clippers sixth man Jamal Crawford, a source tells Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The veteran guard is under contract with the Clippers but has emerged as a trade candidate, with the Clips reportedly having explored Crawford trades around draft time and the Cavs and Heat apparently having been suitors last month. The 35-year-old who spent more than four seasons with the Knicks between 2004 and 2008 is a favorite of Knicks owner James Dolan, GM Steve Mills, assistant GM Allan Houston and Isiah Thomas, a Dolan confidant and WNBA New York Liberty executive who was president of the Knicks during Crawford’s time there, Isola adds (Twitter link). Current team president Phil Jackson would presumably have the final say about a deal that would return Crawford to New York.
The Clippers haven’t been anxious to trade the two-time Sixth Man of the Year award winner, but the trade rumors from earlier this summer, his exclusion from the team’s recruitment of DeAndre Jordan, and new players at his position cloud Crawford’s future, as Dan Woike of the Orange County Register wrote a few weeks ago. Crawford has also signaled his concern via social media, as Woike noted. Still, trade acquisition Lance Stephenson, one of L.A.’s additions on the wing, expressed enthusiasm about the idea of playing with Crawford, as Ben Bolch relayed late Monday (Twitter links).
New York has spent its cap room and doesn’t have a trade exception, so it would have to relinquish salary for a Crawford trade to work. The Clippers would no doubt want a player who can help them make a push for the title this year if they were to relinquish Crawford, though that’s just my speculation. Crawford is due to make $5.675MM this coming season, so salary matching would be based on that figure. Tax considerations may well come into play, since the Clips are about $11MM above the $84.74MM tax line. Conversely. the Knicks are roughly the same distance under the tax line.
Players who signed new contracts are off-limits for a trade until at least December 15th, so the only Knicks eligible for inclusion in a deal for now are Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon, Langston Galloway and Cleanthony Early. Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, almost certainly wouldn’t be included. First-round picks Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant become trade-eligible later this month, and the Knicks are allowed to trade draft-and-stash signee Thanasis Antetokounmpo as soon as early September.
Given the constraints, do you see a workable deal that could land Jamal Crawford with the Knicks? Leave a comment to share your ideas.