Jamal Crawford

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:

Cap/Salary Notes: Heat, Clippers, Sixers, Chalmers

When the Heat agreed to deals with Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, and James Johnson earlier this month, the reported terms of those agreements looked a little too high for the club to fit within its available cap room. At the time, it appeared the reported salary figures on those deals – $52MM for Waiters, $50MM for Olynyk, and $60MM for Johnson – could be inflated by possible incentives, while the base values ended up being a little smaller.

In the case of Waiters and Olynyk, that’s indeed the case. As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details, the overall base value of Waiters’ four-year deal is approximately $47.3MM, while Olynyk’s is worth about $45.6MM overall. Pincus doesn’t yet have details on the unlikely incentives included in each contract, but if the terms reported initially are to be believed, it appears each player will have the opportunity to earn more than $1MM in incentives in each year of his new contract with the Heat.

Here are a few more cap, salary, and cash details courtesy of Pincus:

  • The Clippers sent $1.3MM to the Hawks as part of the three-way deal that landed Jamal Crawford in Atlanta, tweets Pincus. Meanwhile, the Clippers also paid $3.2MM to the Sixers to land the second-round pick that became Jawun Evans (Twitter link). That leaves the Clippers with just $600K available to send out in trades for the rest of the 2017/18 league year.
  • The Sixers can no longer receive cash in trades during the current league year, which runs through June 30, 2018. In addition to receiving $3.2MM from the Clippers, they were sent $1.9MM by the Bucks in exchange for the No. 46 pick (Sterling Brown), per Pincus (Twitter link). The limit for cash received in trades this season is $5.1MM.
  • Mario Chalmers is back in the NBA, but his contract suggests he doesn’t necessarily have job security quite yet. According to Pincus (Twitter link), only $25K of Chalmers’ minimum salary deal with the Grizzlies is currently guaranteed.
  • The Knicks sent $400K to the Kings as part of their “trade” that allowed them to hire Scott Perry away from Sacramento, tweets Pincus. Pincus adds (via Twitter) that the Kings and Knicks are now ineligible to trade with one another through the 2017/18 season. We saw that same restriction occur with the Clippers and Celtics a few years ago after L.A. sent Boston compensation to land Doc Rivers.

Jamal Crawford Talks Trade, Free Agency Decision

While Chris Paul and J.J. Redick were the most notable departures for the Clippers this offseason, the team also lost Jamal Crawford, who became a roster casualty when the club needed to move salary in order to complete a sign-and-trade deal for Danilo Gallinari.

Speaking to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Crawford spoke about the Clippers’ decision to trade him, his accelerated free agency process, and his decision to sign with the Timberwolves. Kennedy’s whole transcript is worth checking out, as is the corresponding podcast with Crawford, but here are a few of the veteran guard’s notable comments from their conversation:

On whether he was surprised by being traded:

“I did feel somewhat blindsided. I mean, we all knew this could potentially happen. We knew that it could be a very different team. Paul [Pierce] was retiring and we had so many free agents, from Blake [Griffin] to Chris to J.J. to Luc Mbah a Moute – that was four of our five starters. We knew that things might look different, but we didn’t think it would go to this magnitude and play out the way it did. … But this is a business. That’s life in the NBA. You have to just roll with the punches and make the best out of every situation.”

On why he strongly considered the Wizards or Cavaliers before joining the Timberwolves:

“With Washington, I felt like with them almost going to the Eastern Conference Finals last year – going to Game 7 [against the Celtics] – they’re a team on the rise. People don’t know this, but I was actually really close to signing with them last year before I decided to re-sign with the Clippers.

“Then, with Cleveland, they’ve obviously been the best team in the East over the last few years. Obviously having LeBron [James] there, having Kyrie Irving there [makes it attractive]. I’ve known Kyrie for a long time as well. They have all those guys there and they have Ty Lue, who I played for when he was an assistant coach on the Clippers. They also have Larry Drew as an assistant coach and I’ve played for him too. I had a lot of connections there and then just with how good they are, it’s intriguing. I mean, going to the last three NBA Finals speaks for itself.”

On the mutual interest between Crawford and the Lakers:

“They were one of the first teams to reach out once the buyout and everything was clear. They were really, really interested and I was interested too. I feel like they’re a team that’s on the rise and I think Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson are going to do great things.

“It made sense with my family already being in L.A. They wouldn’t have to adjust much and they could have the same routine, the same lifestyle, so that was all interesting to me. But after [the early talks], they started looking other places and I started looking at other teams and it kind of fizzled out a bit. They were a team I was really interested in early on, and they showed interest as well, but they wanted to be patient and see how some things played out. And, as you know, things can move really fast and I didn’t feel that I had the time to be able to wait for them.”

On choosing the Timberwolves:

“It was a tough call, but I knew it was the right call. Once I decided that this was it, I felt really, really good about my decision.

“I think we can be one of the best teams out there. I really do. We have to prove it, and it’s obviously been a long time since they’ve been in the playoffs. We know that we have a lot of work to do and that this won’t be easy because the West is stacked, as everyone knows. But for us, we’re really embracing the journey.”

Southeast Notes: Brussino, Crawford, Walker, Reed

Nicolas Brussino, claimed off waivers today by the Hawks, comes with a $1.3MM cap hit, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The move leaves Atlanta with $8.6MM in cap space and 14 guaranteed contracts. The waiver claim means the Hawks will receive Brussino’s entire contract, which includes a $1.5MM salary for 2018/19 that becomes fully guaranteed on the final day of the 2018 moratorium (Twitter link).

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks‘ roster for next season is nearly complete, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Atlanta still hopes to find a third point guard, and will begin that search next week.
  • Jamal Crawford gave up $4MM in his buyout arrangement with the Hawks, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The Clippers sent Crawford to Atlanta in a three-team deal earlier this month, and he quickly agreed to a buyout that enabled him to sign with Minnesota. Crawford’s contract guaranteed him $14.2MM next season and $3MM for 2018/19, and Pincus says he accepted $10.9MM and $2.3MM.
  • The Hornets should consider making an offer for Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. He lists the pros and cons of offering Kemba Walker as part of a trade package, noting that Irving is a more prolific scorer, has much more playoff experience and is two years younger. However, Walker is a better defender, a proven fit with the current team and has a smaller contract. Irving is signed for nearly $18.9MM next season and more than $20MM in 2018/19, with a player option for more than $21.3MM the following season. Walker will make exactly $12MM in each of the next two years.
  • It was playing time, rather than finances, that ended Willie Reed‘s stay in Miami, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Reed signed with the Clippers last week, accepting a $1.6MM veterans minimum offer. With their $4.3MM mid-level exception still available, the Heat could have offered more, but Reed wanted a guarantee of playing time, which Winderman says the Clippers were willing to provide. Miami signed Kelly Olynyk this summer and drafted Bam Adebayo, so Reed would have been in a fight for minutes with the Heat.

Northwest Notes: Westbrook, Crawford, Singler, OKC

Russell Westbrook can sign a supermax Designated Veteran Player Exception deal with the Thunder worth over $235MM over six years, which would make him the highest paid player in NBA history. However, money is not the determining factor over Westbrook’s future, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes.

For starters, uncertainty surrounding the Thunder’s roster in future seasons makes Westbrook signing a longterm contract uncertain — despite the Thunder being optimistic it will get done. As Horne explains, Westbrook does not have the option to sign another shorter-term pact like he did last year, signing a three-year, $85.7MM extension. As Horne mentions, under the new collective bargaining agreement, Westbrook cannot extend his current deal unless it’s a five-year max: meaning it’s max or nothing.

The reigning Most Valuable Player has set himself up to be paid handsomely — whether it is this offseason or next, when he can hit free agency and pursue other options. Westbrook will earn $28.5MM in 2017/18 but that could prove to be chump change if and when he signs a longterm max deal.

Below are additional notes surrounding the Northwest Division:

  • In separate piece for The Oklahoman, Horne suggests that Kyle Singler may be an optimal candidate for the stretch provision. The 29-year-old has averaged less than four points per game in Oklahoma City in two seasons and is owed $9.66MM over the next two seasons. To save cap space, the stretch provision could stretch out Singler’s salary over seven seasons and open up a roster spot for the Thunder, Horne notes.
  • Once again for the Oklahoman, Horne answers four key questions surrounding the Thunder. Among the burning questions include when 2017 draft pick Terrance Ferguson will sign, if and when the Thunder hires a new assistant coach, if any additional moves will be made, and Westbrook’s aforementioned contract dilemma.
  • Newest member of the Timberwolves, Jamal Crawford, pursued a deal with an up-and-coming contender rather than a perennial championship contender. The 37-year-old briefly spoke to the Star Tribune’s Jerry Zgoda about his decision to sign with Minnesota, stating that it “made sense on every level.”
  • Michael Rand of the Star Tribune looks at five potential free agent signings for Minnesota. On the list are three players who have connections to head coach Tom Thibodeau (C.J. Watson, Mike Dunleavy, and Tony Allen) and two productive veterans (Anthony Morrow and Andrew Bogut).
  • Justin Zanik and David Morway are joining the Jazz as high-ranking front office executives, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Ryan McDonald of Deseret News breaks down the move and provides information on both men and their ties to Utah.

Western Notes: Russell, Crawford, Mbah a Moute

Several teams were interested in trading for D’Angelo Russell, according to Lakers team president Magic Johnson, which was something that gave the front office confidence in trade talks.

“Like five teams called for D’Angelo [so] we knew that we could move D’Angelo for one of the pieces that we were looking for. So we decided on Brooklyn, they got a great player in D’Angelo and we got what we wanted,” Johnson said (via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com).

Johnson added that it wasn’t difficult moving on from the former No. 2 overall pick. “I am not one of them dudes,” Johnson added. “When I say bye, that’s it. I keep moving. I can’t get caught in emotions and all that. That is not who I am. We moved and we kept moving. After that trade we went on to the next thing.”

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Jamal Crawford said he consulted former Wolves guard Zach LaVine before signing with Minnesota, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune shares. “He loved Minnesota, absolutely loved. Obviously, it’s cold, but he said it’s a great city, great people. He enjoyed playing for Coach Thibs,” Crawford said.
  • Luc Mbah a Moute, who officially signed with the Rockets earlier today, is excited to play under coach Mike D’Antoni, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 relays (Twitter link). “The environment that he creates is very much like a family,” the small forward said of D’Antoni. “It’s exciting.”
  • Despite his up-and-down stint with the Lakers, Nick Young said he may come back to the team to retire when it’s time to hang up his jersey, Mark Medina of the Orange County Register passes along. “I love LA. I might be back and retire here one day,” said Young. “I’ll come back with Kobe, MJ, and LeBron (James).”

Jamal Crawford Signs With Timberwolves

JULY 19, 10:41am: The Timberwolves have officially signed Crawford, the team announced today in a press release.Jamal Crawford vertical

JULY 8, 6:14pm: Crawford has agreed to sign with the Wolves once the waiver process is complete, according to Brian Windhorst and Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. They add that Crawford had to surrender some guaranteed money in the buyout with Atlanta, so salary was a factor in his decision. Minnesota is just under the cap and has a $4.3MM room mid-level exception that it was able to offer.

Jimmy Butler and coach Tom Thibodeau both aggressively recruited Crawford to join the team, tweets David Aldridge of TNT.

5:48pm: Sources tell Charania the Wolves will offer Crawford a contract worth $8.9MM over two years with a player option on the second season (Twitter link).

5:18pm: Veteran guard Jamal Crawford is in “serious talks” to sign with Minnesota once he clears waivers, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.

The Hawks requested waivers Friday on Crawford, so he won’t clear until Monday. They acquired him as part of a three-way deal that sent Danilo Gallinari from the Nuggets to the Clippers, but never seemed like a real threat to keep the 17-year veteran.

Crawford would add bench firepower and 3-point shooting to a Wolves team that lacked both last season. The three-time Sixth Man of the Year averaged 12.3 points per game and shot 36% from long distance for the Clippers last year.

The Cavaliers had been considered the favorites for Crawford, with one report Friday suggesting he was “theirs to lose.” The Celtics, Bucks, Wizards and Lakers were also believed to be contenders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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