LA has a Jamal Crawford decision to make soon


Outside of the mention from ESPN LA’s Arash Markazi that the team was shopping Jamal Crawford (for Wilson Chandler might I add) following the acquisition of Lance Stephenson, things have been quiet on that front.

But if Sham Sports is correct, time is ticking on the Clippers’ end as Crawford’s $5.67 million deal — also the final year on a contract signed in 2012 — becomes fully guaranteed if the shooting guard is not waived on or before June 30, a.k.a tomorrow.

Here are the three options the Clippers have available in regards to Crawford over the next two days:

Option 1: Trade Crawford

The best option.

Crawford is still a good player despite another playoffs where he was best remembered for brick building than shot making (shot a career-worst 36% in postseason) and that could be enough to get a team desperate for wing scoring to buy into what the former Sixth Man of the Year can offer in 2015-16. Or a team looking to clear cap space in search of difference-making free agents could seek out Crawford’s non-guaranteed deal to do so as only $1.5 million of the $5.6 million is guaranteed.

In return, the Clippers will seek a frontcourt player — small forward because Jordan Hamilton is the lone SF under contract, power forward because Blake Griffin needs a solid backup to prevent this playoffs’ fatigue mishap or center because it’s no guarantee DeAndre Jordan comes back, and if he does, he needs a backup as well.

Outside of the mentioned trade at the top of the article, it’s unclear what the market is for Crawford, but if they can’t find a quality trade partner, the Clippers could …

Option 2: Waive Crawford

Penny-penching for cap space, if the Clippers can’t find a trade that’d garner improvement in the frontcourt, separating themselves from Crawford’s NG deal could occur.

And here’s the sad part: even by waiving Crawford and saving $4.175 million, it’d mean little as long as DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers‘ cap holds are still in place — I could see a scenario where Rivers is denounced, but not Jordan as the Clippers would lose his bird rights which stands as the biggest advantage they have over the Mavs, Lakers, and Knicks.

By off-seasons end, the difference in waiving Jordan and keeping him (option 3) could be big once you factor in the Clippers reaching luxury tax territory. With Steve Ballmer the owner now instead of Donald Sterling, maybe this isn’t as big a problem as it would have been in the past.

Option 3: Keep Crawford

Between now and June 30, 11:59:00 p.m. EST, Doc Rivers and the rest of the Clippers front office may stumble upon the conclusion that it’s unlikely the Clippers find better than Crawford in free agency outside of whomever they spend their mid-level exception on.

Looking at the open market and factoring in what exceptions the Clippers have available to them, unless a player is willing to take less to sign in Los Angeles, this could be truly be the case and what this Clippers team can’t afford going into next season (with or without Jordan) is a decrease in overall talent.

With Crawford staying in this scenario, how he meshes with Lance Stephenson would provide an interesting dynamic for viewers. Similar to the Stephenson-Kemba Walker dynamic that failed last season, both Lance and Jamal prefer to have the ball in their hands. Given Crawford’s consistent ability to space the floor, putting the ball in Lance’s hand to initiate the offense and allowing Crawford to be the secondary creator could work similar to Darren Collison-Crawford in 2012-13.

Or the duo would burn and crash mid-way through the season, forcing the Clippers to re-visit shopping Crawford through the trade deadline.


We’ll see how this mini-saga plays out in the next 48 hours.

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