Who wasn’t glued to Twitter last night as the insanity that was DeAndre Jordan’s free agency circus unfolded? The emojis, the Los Angeles Clippers barricade, Chris Broussard claiming Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was driving relentlessly through Houston trying to find Jordan’s house. It was essentially reality TV, perhaps even more of a sideshow than that.
As Jordan ended it all by reneging on his verbal agreement with the Mavericks and re-signing with L.A., I couldn’t help but wonder how it all affected the Cleveland Cavaliers. Naturally, they didn’t have one bit of rooting interest in where Jordan ended up. However, make no mistake, Jordan returning to the Clippers does have an impact on the Cavs’ free agency moves from here on out.
We all remember Cleveland has a massive trade chip in the form of Brendan Haywood’s contract. Per the latest reports, the Cavs were talking with a few different teams to see who’d like to send some assets in exchange for the opportunity to waive Haywood and clear $10.5 million in cap space.
One of those teams was the Clippers, and the asset in question was Jamal Crawford. As I wrote Tuesday, Crawford would be a perfect fit for Cleveland. His bench scoring would be huge for a team which ran short of options during the NBA Finals. His age (35) might have been a red flag to some, but the Cavs and Crawford would be a solid match regardless.
Well, this option might not be as available now as it was a couple days ago.
You see, the reason L.A. was looking to possibly move Crawford was to clear up some cap space after the team thought they lost Jordan. Knowing you can’t simply replace a center of Jordan’s caliber by picking someone off the bottom of the free agency scrap heap, the Clippers wanted to give themselves enough money to work with in order to try and make at the very least an above-average acquisition.
However, now they have Jordan back in the fold, re-signing him on a max contract. So, while L.A. might still be interested in freeing up some cap space, they may not be as desperate to do so now. As a result, Crawford may end up staying put.
The Clippers are already razor thin when it comes to bench scoring, with Crawford essentially their biggest offensive threat in this department. Knowing the team didn’t really address this as much as they should have in free agency, it’d be odd if they still ended up dealing the veteran guard. There’s obviously a chance Crawford is moved, but don’t be surprised if those odds significantly decreased the second Jordan re-signed.
As for the Cavs, I’m sure they’ll be able to find more interested teams when it comes to Haywood’s contract. Personally, though, what’s out there in the rumor mill doesn’t sound as appealing as acquiring Crawford would’ve been.
There’s the original story of Cleveland going after Brooklyn Nets star Joe Johnson. However, the $24.8 million owed to him this year is a ridiculously high amount for a team already miles over the cap.
Word is the Cavs have talked to the Los Angeles Lakers, with some believing Nick Young may be the target there. That said, it’s tough to get terribly excited about him. He’s an unapologetic shooter who might be a bit too cocky for his own good.
While Johnson or Young could certainly contribute for Cleveland next year, each comes with a pretty significant red flag. Crawford, on the other hand, is cheaper than Johnson, and has less character concerns than Young.
However, thanks to the aforementioned reasons, a Crawford deal might not be an option anymore for the Cavs. It’s worth a shot, sure, but there’s a chance this ship sailed the second Jordan officially re-signed in L.A.