NBA Trade Rumor: Clippers’ Jamal Crawford is still available


May 4, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) dribbles against the Houston Rockets in the second half in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Los Angeles Clippers won 117 to 101. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of this year’s NBA free agency, there have been various reports that Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers may be leaving through a trade. Even after multiple additions with Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Wesley Johnson, Branden Dawson and Cole Aldrich, the Clippers might not be finished. Their host of new talent may give the impression that another big move may be less likely now and that Doc Rivers’ offseason plan is coming to an end. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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This time, it could be to trade their former Sixth Man of the Year for another backup big man, in order to help their primary frontcourt backups Glen Davis, Cole Aldrich and Branden Dawson.

One reported trade from earlier on this summer would be a move to send Crawford to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for small forward Wilson Chandler. Although, now that Chandler has re-signed on a four-year deal, that’s obviously off the table. However, another reported deal that would swap Crawford with Brendan Haywood of the Cleveland Cavaliers may still be a possibility. Despite the fact that the Clippers have just signed a new backup center, Cole Aldrich.

Jan 19, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Brendan Haywood (33) reacts against the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland won 108-94. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Crawford has been with the Clippers for three seasons now, and his electrifying crossovers and instant offense have often carried their weak second unit. When he won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2013-14, he averaged 18.6 points per game on 41.6 percent shooting (including 36.1 percent from three point range), but now his impact has somewhat decreased.

This year, Crawford’s playing time went down from 30.3 minutes per game in 2013-14 to 26.6 minutes. He did struggle late in the year with a calf injury that forced him to miss 17 games, but his lacking efficiency was still a problem all season. His field goal percentage of 39.6 was his second-worst shooting mark since 2004-05 and his poor 24.3 percent three point shooting in the playoffs really hurt the Clippers at times.

Now, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal has reported that Crawford still seems to be available for trade. And in regards to potential trade partners for the Clippers, the Cleveland Cavaliers may be a possibility:

"Another deadline is looming for Haywood, one that most assuredly signals his end with the Cavs. His $10.5 million contract for this season becomes guaranteed on Aug. 1, leaving the team a little less than three weeks to move him…Jamal Crawford, however, remains available.Despite insistence from the Clippers to the contrary, league executives in Las Vegas believe they would be willing to part with Crawford, who has been linked to the Cavs in trade talks.But the optimism surrounding the Cavs and J.R. Smith striking a new deal renders a move for Crawford unnecessary at this point, particularly considering what it would cost the team in luxury taxes. If Smith departs in free agency, the need for Crawford increases."

The first interesting part of Lloyd’s report is that league executives believe the Clippers are still willing to trade Crawford. He may have been their instant-offense player for years, but with Stephenson and Pierce on board, and Crawford’s efficiency seemingly decreasing at 35 years of age, they may be ready to move on.

That being said, if the Cavaliers do re-sign J.R. Smith, they really won’t need another streaky shooter like Crawford.

What matters for the Clippers at this stage, though, is ironing out their entire team to ensure they have a bench that can produce throughout the season and into the playoffs. And even though DeAndre Jordan coming back was an incredible turn of events for L.A., their frontcourt still doesn’t have a great deal of depth.

Dec 10, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks center Cole Aldrich (45) shoots the ball as San Antonio Spurs power forward Tiago Splitter (22) defends during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

After losing Matt Barnes and bringing in Stephenson, Pierce and Johnson, the Clippers have added depth to their wing rotation. Yet even after drafting Dawson and signing Aldrich, they don’t have anyone else other than Glen Davis to support Blake Griffin and Jordan.

Is Brendan Haywood really a good option to go after, though? His averages this season of 10.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3 blocks per 36 minutes are reasonable enough, but he only actually played 5.4 minutes per game. In comparison to Aldrich’s averages of 12.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes, and the fact he’s coming off a solid role of 16 minutes per game this year, the Clippers already have a new backup center.

If they do decide to trade for Haywood for some reason, he’d only be used in the kind of minimal role he was with the Cavaliers.

One player the Clippers reportedly have mutual interest with is 6’9″ power forward Darrell Arthur. He’s more versatile than Haywood (who’s spent 98 percent of his career playing time at center) as Arthur can play both forward positions or center on occasion if need be. This year, he averaged a solid 13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks per 36 minutes with the Denver Nuggets.

So, even though Arthur may not be a stellar big man, he’d make more sense to help at multiple positions than signing Haywood to play behind Aldrich and hardly see any action.

Next: Could Cole Aldrich be the Clippers' missing piece?

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