Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford going home, to sign with Portland

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The Portland Trail Blazers always had an advantage in trying to land Jamal Crawford — and not just LaMarcus Aldridge’s naked and unabashed recruitment of him on twitter.

Crawford was born in Seattle and lives in the Pacific Northwest in the offseason. The Blazers were close to home.

And he is headed back, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

Crawford gets a two-year deal for about $10M, with the second year being a player option, source says.

Crawford was debating between Portland, Sacramento and New York (but New York could only offer half the money of Portland).

Crawford has been one of the best sixth men in the league for the last two years in Atlanta, providing scoring (14.2 PPG last year, 18 the year before), shot creation and energy (something the Hawks often seemed to lack when he sat). He did those same things as a starter before. So he expected to be paid more than $5 million per year. Hence the option — if he puts up big numbers, he can test the free agent market again.

This is a great get for the Trail Blazers, who have a nice lineup with Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, and Nicolas Batum. They may not be one of the elite in the West now, but they will be respectable. And a tough out in the playoffs.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.