Jamal Crawford

Pacific Notes: Jackson, Jordan, Clippers

A difficult string of games in which the Suns were noticeably better without Josh Jackson than with him precipitated a change in his relationship with head coach Jay Triano. Now, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes, the first-year forward has started to regain the coaching staff’s trust.

When Triano told Jackson that he was losing his confidence in him, he asked the player what he might suggest to repair the situation. Since then, the two have watched film of Suns games.

[Jackson suggested they watch film of Suns games] just to see what [Triano] sees,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, two people look at the same play and see two totally different things. He has a basketball mind and he’s really smart, so just trying to see what he sees and trying to pick his brain a little bit.

In the three games since, Jackson has averaged 14 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Suns, shooting an impressive .486 from the field and .556 from three.

There’s more from the Pacific Division this afternoon:

  • The Clippers were treated to some good news on Thursday when it was revealed that Blake Griffin could return to action following a concussion and Milos Teodosic after another bout of plantar fascia issues (NBA.com report). Of course, in true Clippers fashion, DeAndre Jordan sprained his ankle hours later and had to leave the match (ESPN report).
  • The NBA fined Warriors forward Draymond Green $25K for comments critical of officials on Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Dubs took down the Clippers that night.
  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers thinks that NBA players seem to get injured more often than they used to because they’re not playing basketball enough. Per Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register, Rivers posits that players do more things outside of the sport these days and that consistently reliable Jamal Crawford is one example of a guy that is constantly playing the game outside of his professional commitment.

Jamal Crawford Wanted To Play With Isaiah Thomas

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.

Northwest Notes: Anthony, Crawford, Plumlee, Mitrou-Long

Carmelo Anthonys struggles this season have mirrored that of the Thunder: struggling to find consistency. Anthony has been primarily a ball-dominant player in his career but he has changed that approach recently, helping the Thunder in the process, Royce Young of ESPN writes.

In recent games, Anthony has hovered around the perimeter, waiting for catch-and-shoot situations. In Oklahoma City’s win over the Hawks on Friday, Anthony netted seven three-pointers, allowing Russell Westbrook to facilitate plays. Anthony admitted that he can find sustained success in that role once he gets adjusted.

“I think for me it’s just a matter of accepting that role. That’s all it is,” Anthony said. “Realizing that’s what it’s going to be, these are the type of shots I’m going to get, this is the type of offense we’re going to be running and accepting that, and working on that role. That’s something that I’ve kind of been doing over the past week, is allowing myself to accept that role and do whatever I gotta do to make this team win.”

Anthony, 33, is averaging a career-worst 17.5 PPG this season through 32 games. With Westbrook and fellow All-Star Paul George, Anthony is not required to shoulder the load the way he did in New York the past six seasons. Head coach Billy Donovan said he and the team appreciate Anthony’s willingness to change his style for the betterment of the team.

Read up on other news out of the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves signed three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford to be instant offense off the bench and to be a veteran presence on a young, promising team. While his minutes and production were down through the first third of the season, he is still capable of putting up points in a hurry for Minnesota, Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes.
  • Injuries to Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic have allowed Mason Plumlee to receive more playing time and the Nuggets’ center is becoming a trusted vocal leader for the team, Gina Mizell of The Denver Post writes.
  • Naz Mitrou-Long finished up a game in the G League and after a long flight home learned the Jazz were signing him to a two-way deal. As he gets the chance to suit up for Utah in the NBA, Mitrou-Long is appreciative of the opportunity, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News writes. “I obviously don’t presume to come in here and play a substantial amount of minutes or even play at all,” he said. “If I get any opportunity, it’s going to be to learn and take advantage of it.”

Northwest Notes: Mitchell, Crawford, Thunder

The NBA’s highest-scoring rookie is open to the idea of competing in the NBA Dunk Contest, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News writes. First-year Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is a an obvious candidate to compete in the Rising Stars Game and has a growing portfolio of highlight-reel dunks.

It would be great, but I haven’t paid any attention to that whatsoever,” the 21-year-old sensation averaging 18.1 points per game for the Jazz said. “Not even the whole weekend. That’s not even been on my head at all. People bring it up, but I don’t even like to entertain it, I just focus on the task at hand.

As the February festivities grow closer, and participants formally get offered opportunities to strut their stuff, the Jazz rookie may call upon his own background competing in dunk contests. Woodyard writes that Mitchell once competed in the BallIsLife All-American Game dunk contest and won the Derby Basketball Classic dunk contest in 2015.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran guard Jamal Crawford has found adjusting to his role with the Timberwolves challenging, Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes, noting that he didn’t expect to play the fewest minutes per game since his rookie campaign in 2000/01. “You want to actually do it the right way, and play within the framework of the game. But then, if you’re not out there that much, you kind of have to make something happen. So it’s a balance I’m trying to figure out,” Crawford said.
  • The three stars leading the Thunder may still need to figure out how to play effectively with one another but Paul George denies there being any chemistry issues, Royce Young of ESPN writes. “We’ve never had chemistry problems. We like, and enjoy, playing with one another. It’s never been a chemistry problem,” George said.
  • The Thunder got a good look at two former teammates when the club traveled to New York City for battle with the Knicks. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott, who went east in the Carmelo Anthony trade, were eager to match up against their former team and particularly proud to walk away with the victory, Fred Keber of the New York Post writes. “It feels really good,” McDermott said. “This game was kind of about [Anthony] and I thought we did a great job of not letting that distract us and focus on winning the game. And it felt great especially being part of the trade with Enes.

Northwest Notes: Timberwolves, Anthony, Nurkic

The Timberwolves are in the middle of the playoff pack and enjoying their best campaign in years but there have been several concerning elements at play through the first two months of the regular season, which Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype has discussed in a recent feature.

Four Timberwolves fall on the league’s top-ten list for minutes played. That inevitably comes at the cost of bench player minutes and potentially even team chemistry.

Another potentially problematic trend is how little involvement Karl-Anthony Towns is getting within the Timberwolves’ set offense. While Towns has quickly established himself as one of the league’s prized young stars, he’s running all over the court and getting little opportunity to score in the paint to show for it.

The 22-year-old Timberwolves center, Kalbrosky writes, has logged more miles than any other five in the league but gets the 23rd-most touches in the paint among big men.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Among Timberwolves players who’ve seen their playing time shrivel under the tutelage of head coach Tom Thibodeau is Jamal Crawford, Sam Amick and Michael Singer of USA Today write. The three-time Sixth Man of the Year has played just 17.5 minutes per night this season versus the 26.3 he saw last year with the Clippers.
  • The Thunder haven’t exactly hit the ground running since pairing Carmelo Anthony and Paul George with Russell Westbrook. Now Anthony, the elderstatesman of the trio, has started coming to terms with the fact that his days of being the undisputed No. 1 option may be behind him. “For the most part, it’s just accepting the fact that you’re not going to be the man every single night or have to be the man every single night,” Anthony told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “So for me, I’ve accepted that.”
  • Big man Jusuf Nurkic has been out of action for the Trail Blazers since injuring his ankle on Tuesday but X-rays have come back negative, an ESPN report says. There is currently no timetable for his return.

Northwest Notes: Favors, Jerebko, Thunder, Crawford

Now that Rudy Gobert has returned from after missing 11 games with a right tibia contusion, the Jazz should consider trading Derrick Favors, contends Brad Rock of The Deseret News. Favors played well in Gobert’s absence, averaging more than 16 points and nine rebounds per game, and has been more effective as a center than a power forward. They were on the court together for just three minutes during Gobert’s first game back. Favors is making $12MM this year on an expiring contract and could bring back a nice asset or two for Utah on the trade market.

“Favors has been terrific, obviously, in Rudy’s absence, and we will keep looking at ways to get Favors in the lineup as a [center], because that lineup has been good to us,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We’ve got to figure out how to continue to adjust with different lineups in the game.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Injuries also provided an opportunity for free agent addition Jonas Jerebko, who moved into the Jazz starting lineup with Gobert and Joe Johnson sidelined, notes Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. He returned to a reserve role this week, but gained confidence from his time as a starter. “I’m feeling like I’m playing the best basketball I ever played,” said Jerebko, whose $4.2MM salary for next season doesn’t become guaranteed until July 9. “I put in the work this summer to do it so I’m just excited to be with the Utah Jazz and to be able to do it.”
  • Snyder is among the believers that the Thunder’s mix of talent will eventually be successful, relays Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News. Early results have been disappointing in Oklahoma City after offseason trades teamed Paul George and Carmelo Anthony with Russell Westbrook, but OKC extended its winning streak to three games by beating Utah last night. “Any time you have a new teams it takes time to develop cohesiveness and an indentity,” Snyder said. “They’re a heckuva team. It’s a mistake to judge any team at this time of the year.”
  • Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau will eventually put more trust in free agent addition Jamal Crawford, predicts Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Crawford has seen his minutes drop to 17.5 per game with Minnesota after averaging 26.3 with the Clippers last season. “I think things will change a little bit as we get used to each other, and this is having been together two months,” Crawford said. “I’m not sure Thibs has had a Sixth Man of the Year type guy [before] … so that’s different as well. I remember [Clippers coach] Doc [Rivers] told me that when I first [had] him … It was kind of the same thing – maybe not as extreme with the minutes, but just that he had to figure out how to do it.”

Clippers Notes: Offseason Moves, Jordan, Redick

When Chris Paul was set to leave the Clippers this offseason, letting Blake Griffin walk as well and bottoming out as part of a rebuild would have been one option for the club, but it wasn’t one that management seriously considered, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN. Without all their future draft picks in hand, the Clippers weren’t well positioned for a rebuild, and the idea went against owner Steve Ballmer‘s philosophy for the franchise.

“You consider all your options,” Ballmer said. “But I don’t want to lose. I like winning. Winning is good. Losing is bad. We think we have a unique opportunity to be a free-agent destination. If you want that, you have to be doing your best every year.”

Lowe’s deep dive into the Clippers includes several more noteworthy tidbits and is worth reading in full. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • DeAndre Jordan‘s future looms large for the Clippers, since he’s eligible for free agency next summer. According to Lowe, Los Angeles has explored trading Jordan, but the only time the team “gained semiserious traction” on anything was at the 2017 deadline. That proposed deal would have sent Jordan to the Rockets in exchange for Clint Capela, players, and picks.
  • The Clippers have discussed a possible contract extension with Jordan, but those talks have stalled for now, says Lowe. Jordan, who is currently negotiating without an agent, remains extension-eligible all the way up until June 30, but would be eligible for a bigger payday if he becomes a free agent next July.
  • Although the Clippers weren’t looking to part ways with Paul this offseason, they embraced the opportunity for a “fresh start” when he decided to leave. Players say the culture wasn’t as toxic as it may have seemed, but Doc Rivers acknowledges – without referring specifically to CP3 – “don’t want to be coached by you anymore.”
  • Rivers suggests that J.J. Redick was “begging to come back” to the Clippers as a free agent, a claim that Redick disputes. “There was never any indication from my agent that I wanted to go back,” Redick said to Lowe. “I didn’t beg to come back. I didn’t want to come back.”
  • Rivers also disputed reports that the Clippers could have traded Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford for Carmelo Anthony earlier this year, calling that idea a “complete joke.” However, Lowe suggests that Rivers may be playing a “game of semantics,” noting that such a package could have been viable if Crawford was sent to a third team instead of New York.

Northwest Notes: Crawford, Barton, Huestis

It wouldn’t be much of a stretch for Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford to be considered the best bench player of the past decade. In fact, Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes, the 37-year-old recently became the second player in the past 35 years to score 10,000 off the bench.

Crawford was no slouch as a starter back in the day – he averaged 20.6 points per game with the Knicks in 2007/08 – but it wasn’t until he slotted into a reserve role with the Hawks that he started winning. Now the veteran is looking to make an impact on the revamped Timberwolves.

It’s an important role, it really is,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “A lot of times you have guys who don’t get recognized in the boxscore, but it’s so important to winning. Setting screens, sprinting back in defensive transition. If a guys does that, it helps you win.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Having made a point of being extra aggressive, Nuggets guard Will Barton has started off the 2017/18 campaign with a bang, Christopher Dempsey of Denver’s official site writes. Barton has averaged 15.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game so far this season.
  • A years long G League experiment has resulted in Josh Huestis carving out a modest role in the Thunder‘s rotation. The club will have until October 31 to decide if they like what they’ve seen enough to exercise the fourth year of his rookie contract, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes.
  • A slow start to the season has cast doubt on Andre Roberson‘s role in the Thunder rotation, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. While Roberson struggles, head coach Billy Donovan has experimented with various lineups.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, DVEs, Curry, Crawford

Klay Thompson was recently asked on The Athletic’s podcast about whether he’d be willing to accept any sort of discount to remain with the Warriors on his next contract, and the veteran sharpshooter suggested he’d be open to it. As Tim Kawakami of The Athletic notes, it’s not a surprise that Thompson would be willing to entertain a somewhat team-friendly deal, since he’s not inclined to be the player who blows up a potential Warriors dynasty.

Thompson’s free agency is still two years away, so it’s not like a decision is required of him right away, but for their part, the Warriors are appreciative of his sentiment, says Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News.

“Our guys know how special this era is. I think that’s the main thing Klay is trying to express,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “This is a pretty special era. We know this isn’t going to last for a long time. We’d like to be part of it and also know how special it is to be a part of it. That means more than money. That doesn’t mean you’re going to give up everything. But you do what you can to make a living and make the best living you can and best life that you can. Whatever balance that is, that’s what guys are going to do.”

Here’s more from out of the Bay Area:

  • Danny Leroux of The Athletic explains how the Designated Veteran Extension rule – which gives players an early shot at the full 35% max – could have an impact on Thompson and Draymond Green. Teams are limited to two DVEs on their roster, and Stephen Curry already has one of the two for Golden State. Still, Kevin Durant won’t require a DVE because he already has 10 years worth of NBA experience, and I’d be surprised if both Thompson and Green prove worthy of that significant an offer down the road. I wouldn’t expect it to become an issue for the Dubs.
  • As the Warriors prepared for the offseason in the spring, owner Joe Lacob was considering offering Curry a contract worth less than the max in free agency, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. GM Bob Myers kept Lacob from bringing that reduced offer to the negotiating table, according to Thompson, and Curry ultimately ended up with a five-year max deal.
  • Speaking on Wednesday to reporters, including Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link), Jamal Crawford confirmed that he received some early interest from the Warriors when he reached the free agent market this offseason. However, it didn’t go anywhere.

Pacific Notes: Williams, Jones Jr., Richardson

The Clippers had their work cut out for them replacing Jamal Crawford this season but fortunately had already landed Lou Williams, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. Williams has carved out a successful career being one of the league’s best reserves.

Williams came over as part of the massive Chris Paul trade and will take on an even larger share of the Clippers’ offensive load than he may have initially expected now that Crawford has been bought out and signed with the Timberwolves.

You’ve got a few of us that go out there and we have a short amount of time to go and change the game,” Williams said. “And Jamal was one of those guys who perfected that. I’m one of those guys that you can put right up there. You’ve got a few other guys that you can mention in that same breath. It’s a unique position to have.

The Clippers guard may not have three Sixth Man of the Year Awards to his name like Crawford does but he does at least have one. So far.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

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