Veteran shooting guard Jamal Crawford would have signed with the Cavaliers if their blockbuster trade with the Celtics had happened sooner, he revealed to Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Crawford is close friends with Isaiah Thomas and that would have played a pivotal role in deciding where to go as a free agent last summer.
“That’s my brother,” Crawford told Vardon and other media members. “We’re past like friends or basketball relationship. … Like, we go on vacation, like it’s his family and my family. … so that would’ve had to change things.”
Cleveland wanted to sign Crawford for the veteran’s minimum but the Timberwolves offered their $4.3MM room mid-level exception. Crawford has a player option worth $4.6MM for next season.
Crawford also considered signing with the Warriors after the Clippers traded him to the Hawks. Atlanta had no intention of keeping Crawford after acquiring him in a three-team deal in July and the two sides reached a buyout agreement.
Crawford also liked the idea of joining a team on the upswing, instead of one of the reigning conference champions, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
“If I would go there and we would win a championship, I’d be like ‘OK, what’s next Jamal?’ You want to embrace that journey and I wanted to go through it with these guys,” said Crawford, referring to the Timberwolves. “There’s nothing against , like, I have the ultimate respect for the Cavs and the Warriors and all those teams. But they’re already there. I wanted to go somewhere where they can kind of build up.”
Crawford is averaging 9.7 PPG and 2.3 APG in 18.8 MPG as one of Minnesota’s key reserves.