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.”