Are the Cavaliers out of the pursuit for Clippers’ Jamal Crawford?


Jan 13, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith (5) talks to forward LeBron James (23) during the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. Phoenix won 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers has been included in trade talks this offseason. And since Doc Rivers traded Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes to the Charlotte Hornets for Lance Stephenson, those trade talks have only increased. As not only has Crawford’s poor shooting efficiency tarnished his value after his performance in the playoffs, but Stephenson has arrived as younger, more versatile playmaker, with superior defensive abilities as well.

Now that Crawford’s importance to the Clippers has decreased and they are yet to announce that they won’t be willing to trade him, three teams have been linked to Crawford: the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat.

Chris Haynes of recently said that not only were the Cavaliers interested in Crawford, but that he would be interested in playing for them as well. Haynes said to Chris Fedor of “Sports Insider” that “I know Jamal personally, and I know he would definitely like to be a part of the Cavaliers’ organization. Jamal is one guy off the top of my head that I know would be a fit, and I know that they’ll be looking at him”.

However, seeing as the Cavaliers are officially bringing back J.R. Smith (as you can see from his announcement on Instagram), their need for a streaky, instant offense shooting guard has somewhat disappeared.

With Smith’s return, the Cavaliers have their athletic, three point shooting guard who was a fundamental part of their run towards the NBA Finals.

Then Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love went and got hurt and LeBron James had to fight the juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors all by himself. But that’s all history now.

Regardless of how the Cavs and their injuries lost to the Warriors, though, the point is that they no longer need a player like Jamal Crawford to provide some quick three pointers and instant offense. And as Smith was also more efficient, after shooting 39 percent from three point range last season compared to Crawford’s 32.7, it doesn’t look like they will be pursuing a trade with the Clippers anymore.

Nov 20, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Shabazz Napier (13) reaches a high pass as Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) defends during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

However, even though Crawford may have been plan B for the Cavs if they didn’t bring Smith back, he still hasn’t avoided the possibility of a trade. With the Heat and Knicks still interested (according to a report by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News), there’s still a chance that the Clippers send Crawford elsewhere.

In terms of who the Knicks have to offer the Clippers, their options are very limited. The only players they have that are eligible for trade (excluding Carmelo Anthony who won’t be going anywhere) are Jose Calderon, Langston Galloway and Cleanthony Early, none of whom can draw much interest from a championship contender like the Clippers. And as they already have two backup point guards with Austin Rivers and their most recent signing of veteran Pablo Prigioni, there’s no reason at all for them to sign Calderon (probably the most valuable of those three players).

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As for the Heat trading for Crawford? Honestly, it would be surprising if they pursue him to any great length. They’ve already added notable depth to their core of wing players by drafting Justise Winslow and have signed a new three point shooting, quick-fire scorer to come off the bench in the form of Gerald Green. Meaning that regardless of how many crossovers and four point plays Crawford can pull off, he might not fit in any better in Miami than he will in Los Angeles.

So, for now, we’ll just have to wait and see how the Crawford scenario plays out. But as the Knicks don’t have the assets to pull-off a trade, the Cavaliers have re-signed Smith now and Miami have little need for him, the two-time Sixth Man of the Year might be staying put with the Clippers.

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