Best Potential Trade Packages, Scenarios and Landing Spots for Jamal Crawford
Even though Jamal Crawford has spent the last two seasons of his lengthy NBA career showing off his dribbling skills and three-point prowess for the Los Angeles Clippers, there's no guarantee he starts the 2014-15 season in the same threads.
While Crawford's contract runs through the end of the 2015-16 season (which is only partially guaranteed), he's angling for either a trade or an extension. Or both.
"As the Los Angeles Clippers propose guard Jamal Crawford in possible trade scenarios, the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year has a message for the Clippers and potential future teams," explains Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. "Wherever Crawford's playing, he wants a contract extension next summer."
Given his offensive prowess and continued effectiveness despite facing the savage grips of Father Time, Crawford has remained a valuable player. That would be true on the Clippers, but other teams could certainly put his skills to use as well.
Sign-and-trade deals, straight-up trades and extensions abound in this set of hypotheticals.
Potential Deal: Paul Pierce (sign-and-trade) for Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes
At this point, it's fairly well known that Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers have quite a bit of interest in the services of Paul Pierce. Now an unrestricted free agent, Pierce can essentially become a mercenary, taking his talents to a location he thinks can win a championship.
But if he goes to the Clippers, he can make more money while doing so. After all, they're perfect partners in a sign-and-trade deal, as ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk discuss:
And while the Clippers could simply sign Pierce as a free agent using their midlevel exception at $5.3 million, they are interested in pursuing sign-and-trade scenarios that would allow Brooklyn to get something in return for the 10-time All-Star and because the Clippers already have so many small forwards.
Because Brooklyn holds his Bird rights, a sign-and-trade also would allow Pierce -- who made $15.3 million last season -- to sign for more than the midlevel exception.
When Shaun Livingston decided to join the Golden State Warriors, per Wojnarowski, it opened up a need for a backup guard. Crawford could fill that role while functioning as a sixth-man extraordinaire, and the age/health problems of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson ensure he could receive major minutes.
Throw in Matt Barnes, who becomes completely expendable for the Clippers if they're gaining the services of "The Truth," and you're making the Nets even deeper still.
ESPN.com's Chris Broussard reports that Brooklyn isn't interested in the small forwards LAC is offering, but that's bound to change if Pierce shows no indication he's willing to re-sign with an organization in flux that's capped out and losing quality pieces.
Potential Deal No. 1: Spencer Hawes (sign-and-trade) for Jamal Crawford
Potential Deal No. 2: Luol Deng (sign-and-trade) for Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes
"Crawford has become a subject of sign-and-trade discussions with the Clippers, who have inquired about working deals for several potential free agents, including Cleveland's Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes, sources told Yahoo," reports Wojnarowski.
Either would be great fits for the Clippers, though it's difficult to see them landing both given their limited resources.
In the first scenario, it's basically a one-for-one swap. Cleveland gets a scoring upgrade off the bench, one who makes it even more likely they take less than market value for a Jarrett Jack trade, as well as a veteran presence who can continue to help the younger guys on the roster develop on and off the court.
But the second is even more appealing for both teams.
Not only are the Clippers making a massive upgrade at the 3, which the rumors all seem to point toward them coveting (between Pierce and Deng, that's fairly obvious), but the Cavaliers are adding plenty more depth to their roster. Andrew Wiggins would still start, it's safe to assume, but Barnes and Crawford both wouldn't exactly lack playing time in the Cleveland lineup.
Could the Clippers land both former Cavaliers?
It's possible, but given the price range of both players (you're looking at $17 million or more for them), it would take sending Cleveland a handful of players. Crawford, J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley and Barnes would work, but why would either team be interested in such a major swap?
Los Angeles Clippers
Let's not rule out an extension with Los Angeles as a legitimate possibility.
"Our intention is to get an extension with the Clippers or anywhere else that he may be traded based on the fact that he's undervalued for the production he's providing," explained Andy Miller, Crawford's agent, while speaking with Wojnarowski.
Perhaps I'm reading into the quote too much, but isn't it telling he specifically mentioned the Clippers and did so before bringing up the possibility of a trade? Sure, that's the natural progression when speaking, but there's also been no indication that Crawford is unsatisfied with his current role.
After all, he's coming off a season in which he won Sixth Man of the Year while averaging 18.6 points and 3.2 assists per game. He's not exactly lacking a chance to put up numbers, earn minutes or contribute to wins.
Sure, Crawford is 34 years old, but his handles and sweet shooting ability aren't going anywhere. He seems like one of those players who can maintain effectiveness into his late 30s, which L.A. would be counting on if it extended him.
"Crawford’s value, coming off winning Sixth Man of the Year, is high right now. But he’ll really have to play well next season to convince a team to extend his contract, which already runs through 2016," speculates NBC Sports' Dan Feldman.
If he's going to do that, his best chance may well come under the supervision of Doc Rivers.
New Orleans Pelicans
Potential Deal: Ryan Anderson for Matt Barnes, Jamal Crawford and a 2017 second-round draft pick
Talk about shoring up needs for both teams.
Though having a stretch 4 is more of a luxury than a necessity for the Clippers, having a power forward falls into the latter category. After all, LAC—which doesn't have any cap space to spend on free agents—has Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan...and that's it in the big man rotation. There are literally no backups on the roster, which means adding a player of Anderson's caliber is huge.
The New Orleans Pelicans, meanwhile, don't have as much need for the sharp-shooting power forward after acquiring Omer Asik, which shifts Anthony Davis back over to his more natural position in the frontcourt. Established backcourt help and a true small forward are much higher priorities.
Any guesses where Barnes and Crawford fit in?
Of course, Jeff Goodman reports for ESPN.com that this scenario isn't under consideration by the bayou:
The Los Angeles Clippers have inquired about trading for Ryan Anderson, but the New Orleans Pelicans aren't making him available, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com Thursday that the Pelicans, after agreeing to a deal in principle to trade for Houston Rockets center Omer Asik, want to bring Asik in to form a three-man frontcourt rotation with Anderson and face-of-the-franchise Anthony Davis.
Will the addition of a draft pick and an actual offer be enough to make the difference?
Potential Deal: Trevor Ariza (sign-and-trade) for Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes
"The Clippers appear open to trading Crawford this summer in sign-and-trade scenarios, as the team has engaged in talks with free agents like Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza and Spencer Hawes—who are all expected to garner more than the team could offer in a straight free-agent signing," details Dan Woike for the Orange County Register.
We've covered the two former Cavaliers, but Ariza might be the most appealing option of all.
Not only would he provide a defensive boost to a Clippers team that already finished No. 9 in defensive rating during the 2013-14 season, per Basketball-Reference.com, but his three-point shooting would also enhance the offensive capabilities of this Western Conference contender. Ariza is about the best possible player the Clippers could land this offseason, and a sign-and-trade would put him on the roster for the next three or four years.
However, would the Washington Wizards agree to part ways with him?
Especially after signing Marcin Gortat to such a huge contract extension (five years, $60 million), it'll be hard to justify eventually extending Crawford. However, the Gortat deal is a clear indication this team is in win-now mode, and it would be more beneficial to the Wiz to increase the team's depth.
According to Hoopsstats.com, Washington's bench finished No. 28 in defensive efficiency and No. 26 in offensive efficiency while playing just 15 minutes per game, a total that left them ahead of only the Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers.
Adding Crawford to the bench would be worth the downgrade from Ariza to Barnes, especially given the expected improvement from Otto Porter and the eventual return to health of Martell Webster.