The battle for Los Angeles games next year are going to be amazing. And we could see those battles deep in the playoffs.
The Clippers addressed a key need Thursday by reaching a three-year agreement with Jamal Crawford, reports the Los Angeles Times. At the same time they reached a deal to bring back injured guard Chauncey Billups.
Crawford, an unrestricted free agent who opted out of his $5.2 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, has been offered a spot by the Clippers. He is expected to sign a three-year, $15.7 million contract, according to the executives.
Billups, who played in just 20 games last season with the Clippers before suffering a season-ending left Achilles tendon surgery, will sign a one-year deal that could be worth up to $4.3 million if he reaches bonuses, the executives said.
The Clippers went into this season wanting to address a couple of needs, one being a two guard who could provide scoring. Crawford is certainly that. The former Sixth Man of the Year can light it up — even though he stepped back last year and shot 38.4 percent overall and 30 percent from three. He’ll need to do better next season.
(The other need was depth along the front line, which trading for Lamar Odom got them.)
But Crawford can create his own shot and that is something the Clippers sorely needed in the playoffs. When the Spurs walled off Chris Paul the rest of the Clippers struggled to get good looks. Crawford is a dynamic second option.
CP3 had said he wanted the Clippers to bring back Billups and that is reason enough to sign him — Paul becomes a free agent next summer and the Clippers need to do anything to keep him. When healthy Billups also brought calmness to the Clippers young offense that they missed in the postseason.
So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.
But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.
But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.
When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.
Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.
Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.
Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.
Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.
New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.
I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.
But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.