NBA Trade Rumor: Knicks pursuing Clippers’ Jamal Crawford?


Jan 26, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) stands on the court during the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. The Clippers won 102-98. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Crawford’s tweets over the summer have indicated that he might not be too happy with his situation as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. However, a potential answer to Crawford’s problem may have just emerged. It’s understandable that he isn’t content with being demoted as the Clippers’ obvious sixth man after they traded for Lance Stephenson, so whilst he’ll be missed in L.A., a change of scenery may well be what Crawford wants.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News has reported that Crawford has caught the eye of the New York Knicks. Who, after winning a measly 17 games to become the NBA’s second worst team, need all the help they can get.

The Knicks may like Crawford’s talent as a quick-fire, heat-check scorer off the bench, but is that really what they need? With Carmelo Anthony (a high frequency shooter) and Arron Afflalo (a low efficiency scorer, who shot just 41.4 percent this year), is another streaky player like Crawford really the best idea?

Most likely, yes. Because even though he’s inconsistent at times, he can provide instant offense and has more talent at 35 years of age that nearly everyone on the Knicks’ roster.

They have lost Tim Hardaway Jr. (who averaged 11.5 points per game last season), so in that sense Crawford could be a valuable addition off the bench. With a serious lack of talent, Anthony and Afflalo will almost certainly both be in the starting lineup away, meaning the Knicks can avoid using all three at once by bringing Crawford off the bench.

Both Anthony and Crawford tend to dominate control of the ball when they’re on the floor, and whilst that may have worked for their respective teams, it would take them time to learn how to play more off-ball when they’re on the court together. And seeing as the Knicks are still miles from contention, it doesn’t really matter for now if team chemistry doesn’t emerge immediately.

Dec 31, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Knicks guard Shane Larkin (0) guards Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) in the second half of the game at Staples Center. Clippers won 99-78. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In order for the Knicks to acquire Jamal Crawford, though, they’ll need to work out a trade that considers their limited cap space. They don’t have a trade exception either, so they’ll have to remove a salary amount equal to Crawford’s in order to acquire him (which is $5.67 million for the upcoming season). However, the Knicks aren’t exactly in good shape when it comes to trade assets.

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There’s virtually no chance that Anthony will be traded, and the rookie with immense promise, Kristaps Porzingis, could be safe as well, meaning only Jose Calderon, Langston Galloway and Cleanthony Early are eligible for trade. And for a revamped Clippers team looking to make a serious run for a championship this year, the only player on that list that may catch even the slightest bit of their attention is the young, athletic scorer, Langston Galloway. Especially after they signed Pablo Prigioni to take their third point guard spot, rendering Calderon almost worthless to them.

That being said, as Frank Isola also reported, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat are also in play for landing Crawford, who are both armed with far more tradable talent that the Knicks.

The Knicks’ offense is extremely far from effective after they ranked 29th in offensive efficiency last season, and Crawford’s shooting percentages of 39.6 in the regular season 36 in the playoffs are the main question marks surrounding his value. However, after winning 17 games, can the Knicks really afford to be picky? No. Not even slightly.

If they try and trade for Crawford, it seems like a solid enough risk to give their second unit some proven scoring ability.

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