Jamal Crawford

And-Ones. P. Gasol, Mozgov, Crawford, Draft, More

A pair of longtime NBA big men returned to action in Europe this week after lengthy layoffs.

The most notable of the two, Pau Gasol, played for the first time in over two years on Friday, taking the court for Barcelona in EuroLeague play. He logged 13 minutes vs. Bayern Munich, recording nine points and four rebounds (AP story via ESPN).

Meanwhile, in Russia today, Khimki Moscow center Timofey Mozgov appeared on Monday in his first game in nearly three years, per Sportando. Mozgov was last on an NBA roster during the 2018/19 season, but he didn’t appear in a single game with Orlando that year due to knee issues.

Those issues persisted after Mozgov signed with Khimki in 2019, and the NBA even permitted the Magic to remove Mozgov’s cap hit from their books last season since his injury was viewed as potentially career-ending. His return today represents the culmination of a long, impressive comeback.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran guard Jamal Crawford, who turned 41 in March, is staying ready in the hopes of receiving another NBA opportunity, he told Matthew Brooks and Alec Strum of NetsDaily. “We actually have talked to a couple of teams, so we’re seeing where it goes,” Crawford said when asked about the possibility of a 10-day deal. “We’ve had conversations, which is the good thing.”
  • Although there has long been an expectation that the NBA and NBPA will eventually agree to tweak the league’s one-and-done rule for the draft and let high school players enter again, there haven’t been any meaningful talks between the two sides on the subject for months, sources tell David Aldridge of The Athletic.
  • Using the Hornets’ success with their trio of LaMelo Ball, Devonte’ Graham, and Terry Rozier as a jumping-off point, Louis Zatzman of FiveThirtyEight explores whether lineups that feature three point guards might become more common among NBA teams.
  • During a recent appearance on Mike Krzyzewski‘s “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K’ show, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the league’s complicated relationship with China. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports relays some of Silver’s key quotes.

New York Notes: Randle, Rivers, Luwawu-Cabarrot, Crawford

Julius Randle became the symbol of free agency disappointment for Knicks fans last season, but he has shown signs of a turnaround this year, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Randle was among several veteran free agents brought in on short-term deals after New York missed out on its primary targets during the summer of 2019. Bondy notes that Randle has lost weight and looks like a different player so far.

“I ran pretty much every day during the offseason. Like I said, that was just a challenge for me to get in extreme condition or whatever it is,” Randle said. “That’s just what I challenged myself to do every day. Yeah, I dropped a little bit of weight but the biggest thing was just pushing myself just to run every day and just challenging myself in that way.”

New coach Tom Thibodeau said he noticed the difference in Randle when he reported for the team’s voluntary training camp in September. Thibodeau has given Randle control of the offense, and he’s averaging 24.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists through the first four games.

There’s more from New York:

  • The Knicks are encouraged by the progress of free agent addition Austin Rivers, who has been sidelined by a groin injury but went through he first contact drills Monday, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. “There’s a progression to coming back,’’ Thibodeau explained. “He was doing condition without contact. Then it goes to one-on-one controlled movements. Then progressed to two-on-two. And then three-on-three. We’re on the three-on-three phase right now. It’s day-to-day on how he feels and whether we get to the next step. There’s more steps to take. He has to play five-on-five and practice with the team. He’s still a couple of steps away.’’
  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is making a bid for more playing time following the season-ending injury to Spencer Dinwiddie, writes Mollie Walker of The New York Post. Luwawu-Cabarrot was used as a starter Monday and responded with 21 points, six rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes. “TLC has just been really steady,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said. “Very trustworthy defensively. Knows the system. Is very attentive to his responsibilities, and he’s been shooting the ball. He’s played within himself. He’s doing very well.”
  • The Nets have remained in contact with veteran guard Jamal Crawford and may consider him as a replacement for Dinwiddie, states Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Crawford signed with the Nets for last season’s restart, but appeared in just one game before getting injured.

Jamal Crawford Wants To Return Next Season

40-year-old Nets guard Jamal Crawford hopes to return to the NBA for the 2020/21 season, per Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Crawford unfortunately logged just five minutes of action in one game for Brooklyn during the NBA’s Orlando restart due to a hamstring injury. If the three-time Sixth Man of the Year is able to play next season, it would be his 21st in the league.

A versatile backcourt scorer famous for his mean crossover, Crawford has played for nine NBA clubs, most notably as a key contributor off the bench for the Clippers and Hawks. He signed with the Nets as a substitute player for the Disney World summer restart after several Brooklyn players opted out due to injuries or the novel coronavirus.

Stein noted that Nets All-Star forward Kevin Durant recently intimated that he has interest in Crawford returning to the Nets during the 2020/21 season.

“With a whole, healthy roster,” Crawford said, “anyone would love that opportunity.”

The Nets will presumably have championship aspirations provided that Durant and fellow All-Star Kyrie Irving are fully recovered from injuries that derailed their 2019/20 seasons. Durant, recuperating from an Achilles tear, did not play at all this year.

Adding Crawford to at least Brooklyn’s training camp roster, perhaps on a partially-guaranteed veteran’s minimum contract, would be a nice low-cost way to bring veteran leadership with proven scoring acumen to the Nets bench.

Atlantic Notes: Harris, Crawford, Ujiri, Sixers, Celtics

The Nets will be without sharpshooter Joe Harris and veteran scorer Jamal Crawford for Game 3 and Game 4 of their series against Toronto, head coach Jacque Vaughn confirmed today. Crawford continues to be hampered by a hamstring strain, while Harris left the NBA’s campus on Wednesday.

According to Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link), teammate Tyler Johnson said today that Harris’ absence is related to an emergency family matter. A source close to Harris tells Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link) that the situation is “day-to-day,” with the 28-year-old’s return date and quarantine period still up in the air. If the Nets can’t pick up a win over Toronto, Harris’ season will be over and he’ll be headed to unrestricted free agency this fall.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Following the release of new footage from last June’s altercation with a security guard at Oracle Arena, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said in a statement that the video “sadly demonstrates how horribly I was treated by a law enforcement officer” as Toronto won its first NBA championship. As we noted on Wednesday, Ujiri has filed a countersuit in the matter.
  • In the wake of a dispiriting Game 2 loss to Boston, the Sixers‘ season is on the brink and the team’s disappointment is rising, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com covers similar ground, suggesting that the post-“Process” 76ers almost look like they need to be blown up.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explores how Al Horford‘s departure a year ago created a murky future for the Celtics, and how Kemba Walker‘s arrival brightened that future.
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart will be under the microscope with Gordon Hayward sidelined, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

New York Notes: LeVert, Crawford, Pinckney, Knicks

Kyrie Irving isn’t playing for the Nets this summer, but he’s staying connected with the team, having called Caris LeVert to talk to his teammate after the end of the seeding games last week.

“I talked to Ky (on Friday) morning, talked about the games and playoffs coming up and giving me encouragement,” LeVert told reporters, including Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “He’s watching all the games. He’s been in this position before, fighting for something.”

LeVert, who was named to the NBA’s All-Seeding Games Second Team over the weekend, has been the Nets’ leading scorer and primary play-maker during the restart. Assuming he’s still on the roster next season, he’ll share those duties with Irving and star forward Kevin Durant.

Here’s more on the Nets and New York’s other NBA team:

  • Nets guard Jamal Crawford still isn’t ready to return from his hamstring strain. According to Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link), head coach Jacque Vaughn said today that Crawford will miss the “first few games” of the series vs. Toronto before being re-evaluated.
  • Veteran assistant coach Ed Pinckney, who was on Tom Thibodeau‘s staffs in Chicago and Minnesota, isn’t a candidate to join Thibodeau with the Knicks, a source tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). As we’ve heard throughout the month, Mike Miller and Mike Woodson remain good bets to join the Knicks as assistants.
  • The Knicks have hired Kelsey Roberts as a database/basketball analyst, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Roberts previously interned for Indiana and Miami.
  • In case you missed it, we previewed the Knicks‘ 2020 offseason earlier this afternoon.

Nets Notes: Harris, Crawford, Durant, Dinwiddie

The Nets will have plenty of key decisions to make this fall, including who will become their permanent head coach and whether they should package some of their talent in an effort to trade for another impact player. However, GM Sean Marks isn’t underestimating the importance of re-signing veteran sharpshooter Joe Harris.

“Priority No. 1,” Marks said of locking up Harris, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “It’s that simple, yeah. … Signing him and seeing him with this group will certainly be a priority for us.”

Harris, who signed a two-year, $16MM contract with Brooklyn in 2018, figures to be in line for a raise this offseason and it could be a substantial one. He has become one of the NBA’s most consistent outside shooters, knocking down 44.8% of his three-point attempts over the last two seasons, and will be one of the top UFAs in a somewhat weak market.

The Nets already have about $133MM in guaranteed money on their books for next season, per Basketball Insiders, which will almost certainly make them a taxpayer. They’ll have to weigh how much more they’re willing to pay to retain Harris.

Here’s more on Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have been so impressed by Jamal Crawford‘s leadership skills this summer – as well as the offensive ability he has shown in limited practices – that they’re seriously considering adding him to their roster for the 2020/21 season, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
  • Kevin Durant (Achilles rehab) and Spencer Dinwiddie (contracted COVID-19 in June) aren’t participating in the restart this summer, but they’re among the Nets players working out and playing pickup ball in Los Angeles. Chris Milholen of NetsDaily has the details and the video.
  • If the Nets go star-hunting this offseason, Caris LeVert is one player whose name could come up in trade rumors. However, LeVert has shown with his play this summer that he may be capable of complementing Durant and Kyrie Irving himself. After scoring 37 points on Thursday, LeVert earned praise from Damian Lillard and was referred to as “the best kept secret in the NBA” by Crawford (via Twitter).

New York Notes: Nets Guards, KD, DSJ, K. Payne

Both Tyler Johnson and Chris Chiozza will be free agents at the end of the 2019/20 season, as Johnson signed a one-year contract in June and Chiozza’s two-way deal is expiring as well. However, the two guards are making a strong case to be considered for next season’s Nets roster, as Tom Dowd of BrooklynNets.com writes.

The Nets’ rotation has been in a state of flux this summer due to injuries, opt-outs, COVID-19 cases, and some lineup experimentation. However, Johnson and Chiozza have often shared the backcourt as part of the club’s second unit, and the pairing has worked. Entering today’s game, Chiozza is averaging 9.2 PPG and 5.0 APG in six games during the restart, while Johnson has contributed 11.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 2.8 APG.

“I think it’s a great combination; two guards that can pass and shoot pretty well,” Chiozza said, per Dowd. “He’s a smart player so it’s easy to play with him. He knows how to move when I’ve got the ball and I feel like we get each other a lot if open shots.”

Meanwhile, veteran guard Jamal Crawford was supposed to be a backcourt contributor for the Nets this summer after signing as a substitute player, but has been limited to just six minutes due to a hamstring injury.

Despite not playing much, Crawford has provided great leadership for the Nets, including Caris LeVert, head coach Jacque Vaughn said this week (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post). According to Vaughn, Crawford may not return before the seeding schedule ends, but the team remains confident he can contribute this summer.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • When the Nets clinched a playoff spot, it assured injured star Kevin Durant of a $1MM bonus, as Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter). Because the bonus had been considered “likely” rather than “unlikely,” earning it this season won’t impact Durant’s cap hit for 2020/21.
  • Former lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr. finds himself at a crossroads as he enters a contract year under new Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. One scout who spoke to Berman is curious to see how the team handles Smith in ’20/21. “He’s certainly not a Thibs kind of player, but let’s see how committed they are to getting him right,” the scout said. “You don’t want to force it because they traded (Kristaps) Porzingis for him. Knowing when to cut bait is important. There may be too many things to fix with him.”
  • New Knicks assistant coach Kenny Payne is primarily known for three things, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News: recruiting, relationships, and developing frontcourt players. As Bondy writes, the Knicks will hope that Payne can assist in their efforts to attract stars to New York.

New York Notes: Walker, Fine, Durant, Fizdale

Kemba Walker‘s interest in signing with the Knicks as a free agent last summer was “very serious,” the Celtics guard said in a Ringer podcast (Twitter link). The New York native revealed that “before Boston actually came along, the Knicks were one of my top priorities. I was thinking they were going to get another player (top free agent) but it didn’t work out.” Walker wound up agreeing to a four-year, $141MM max contract with Boston.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • The Nets were fined $25K for failing to comply with league policies regarding the reporting of injuries, according to an NBA.com post. The fine was not related to public injury reports distributed to the media, but rather something related to its own internal database, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets.
  • If Kevin Durant has his way, he’ll be playing next season with Caris LeVert, Chris Chiozza and Jamal Crawford. Durant praised the trio on the Play for Keeps podcast, Lewis relays. That could influence the way the Nets approach roster changes in the offseason. LeVert is considered to be the Nets’ best asset to acquire a third star but Durant may feel differently. “[LeVert] is definitely better than I thought,” Durant said. Chiozza is on a two-way deal, while the veteran Crawford was signed as a substitute player for the restart.
  • Ex-Knicks coach David Fizdale endorses his former team’s selection of Tom Thibodeau as its new head coach, according to Ian Begley of SNY. Fizdale made his comments during a Sirius XM Radio interview. “I think (Thibs) is a great hire. I think Thibs is a hell of a coach,” Fizdale said. “He demands hard work and toughness out of his guys.”

Atlantic Notes: Crawford, Walker, Robinson, VanVleet

On Wednesday night, Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters that guard Jamal Crawford will miss a few games with a strained hamstring, per Nick Friedell of ESPN (Twitter link).

Crawford suffered the injury in the second quarter of Tuesday’s afternoon game against the Bucks. It was the 40-year-old’s first game with Brooklyn after not playing in the team’s previous games and scrimmages.

Crawford only played six minutes off the bench, scoring five points and dishing out three assists. Without Crawford for the foreseeable future, the Nets could turn to Tyler Johnson and Timothe Luwawu-Caborrot, who started in place of Joe Harris and Caris LeVert.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • According to Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, point guard Kemba Walker is expected to receive more minutes on Friday night, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). The veteran point guard played 27 minutes on Tuesday against the Heat, scoring 15 points. Stevens also added that Walker isn’t expected to be on a minutes restriction when the playoffs start later this month.
  • In an interview with Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, Sixers forward Glenn Robinson III talked at length about his experience being a veteran inside the bubble. Robinson, who was traded from the Warriors in February, believes he was acquired not only for his shooting and defense, but also for his leadership. “I think I was brought on this team for some of that. I feel like they know how I am in the locker room,” Robinson said. “I get the respect of every teammate I’ve had a chance to play with. I may not say a lot. But I get the respect because you’ve got my respect and I have your best interest as my teammate.” Robinson has not played in any of Philadelphia’s seeding games due to a left hip pointer injury that he suffered during the scrimmages.
  • Doug Smith of The Toronto Star explains why the Raptors must re-sign Fred VanVleet, who is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason. Smith mentions veteran starting point guard Kyle Lowry going into the final year of his contract as one of the main reasons why Toronto needs to keep VanVleet. He also brings up VanVleet’s ability to make big plays and his on-court awareness.

New York Notes: Stoute, Thibs, Temple, Crawford

Knicks “branding manager” Steve Stoute is confident he can recruit stars to the team, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Stoute, who joined New York’s front office in January, mentioned in a recent conversation with The Breakfast Club show that he, team president Leon Rose and senior vice president William Wesley have strong relationships with some of the NBA’s top stars. Stoute anticipates they will be able to capitalize on these friendships, making the Knicks an attractive free agent destination once again.

“With having Leon in, World Wide Wes and myself, the three of us, we’re the best sort of team as it relates to being able to speak with free agents,’’ Stoute said of the Knicks’ new front office team.

Though every club’s cap situation is fairly up in the air following the anticipated revenue loss caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Knicks could have one of the lowest payrolls in the NBA next season, with only about $55MM currently committed to guaranteed salaries. The club could have even more cap flexibility in 2021.

There’s more out of the Empire State:

  • While speaking in a recent press conference, Knicks GM Scott Perry detailed how new head coach Tom Thibodeau won him over during a series of Zoom interviews, according to a separate Marc Berman piece for The New York Post“During this process, it allowed me personally to get to know the man better and really see how our personalities could come together and mesh,” Perry said. “I felt really good about our time talking basketball. He’s got a lot of the same values about the game that I was raised in that came through clear to me throughout the process.’’
  • Despite the Nets being one of the most injury-ravaged squads among the 22 NBA teams in Orlando, wing Garrett Temple expects his Brooklyn teammates to compete, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “We’re trying to win,” Temple said after the seventh-seeded Nets defeated the East’s top-seeded Bucks today. “We’re not going out here to just mess around or have moral victories.”
  • Nets interim head coach Jacque Vaughn is cautiously optimistic about the health status of injured 40-year-old guard Jamal CrawfordBrian Lewis of the New York Post noted in a separate article. Crawford played just five minutes before apparently suffering a strained left hamstring. “I’m telling you, I love having him around and it was awesome to see him on the floor, and look forward to him being on the floor again,” Vaughn said.