Report: Warriors add Jordan Crawford for guard depth in three-team trade with Celtics, Heat

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Golden State has been looking to add depth behind Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson all season — the offense has been down just slightly this season, and Warriors missed the spark Jarrett Jack brought off the bench last season (not to mention wanting to get Curry some reduced minutes in the second half of the season, he’s played more minutes than any starting PG in the league). Toney Douglas has not been that guy (shocking, I know).

The Warriors may think they’ve found it in a trade with Golden State — Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks are coming to Golden State in a three team trade that involves Toney Douglas going to Miami and Joel Anthony going to Boston, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors will send guard Toney Douglas to the Miami Heat, and Miami sends center Joel Anthony and a future first-round pick and second-round pick to the Celtics, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Miami will send a first-round pick it owns from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Celtics, but that pick becomes two second-round picks should the Sixers miss the playoffs in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Heat will save nearly $10 million in salary and luxury tax with the unloading of Anthony’s contract.

To clarify, the Heat will save $7.7 million in salary and taxes this season plus the $3.8 million Anthony makes next season. And that first round pick headed to Boston likely isn’t a first round pick — it’s from Philadelphia in a prior deal and is lottery protected the next two seasons. So unless the Sixers make the playoffs this season or next (not likely, not impossible), that pick becomes a second rounder in the third year.

It was Golden State who pushed this trade and in the short term appears to have gotten what they wanted… that or it sets up another deal down the line. Either way, with all the injured point guards around the league demand for Crawford’s services was likely to go up, so the Warriors were smart to move fast.

Crawford is having his best season as a pro, averaging 13.7 points and 5.7 assists a game while starting 35 games for the Celtics (who are getting Rajon Rondo back and don’t need Crawford as much). He assist percentage was up to 31 percent (he assisted on 31 percent of teammates field goals while on the court) while he reduced his turnovers. That said he is shooting just 41.4 percent overall and 31.8 percent from three.

Those are better numbers than Douglas (3.7 points a game on 37.2 percent shooting) because Crawford is a better player (he’s an average to slightly above average NBA guard, although he’s not much of a defender). This is an upgrade for Golden State — and since these are guys on rookie contracts Golden State did it without having to pay the tax

That said, through Crawford’s career he does well when asked to step into a larger role (starting for Boston, for example) but has struggled to stay focused when asked to take a smaller one. And he’ll have a smaller one in Golden State. Plus, Crawford has some history of being a disruptive locker room force (remember the feud with Carmelo Anthony?). This is a great situation and opportunity for Crawford, but his fit is something to watch.

For Boston… Tankapalooza 2014 is in full effect. They get a big body in Joel Anthony who can block shots but basically they are paying him this season and next ($3.8 million next season) for the three picks they get in this deal.

Miami has wanted to dump Joel Anthony for a while, sacrificing second round picks was the cost to save that money.

76ers: Joel Embiid doubtful for Game 3 against Heat

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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MIAMI (AP) — Joel Embiid remains listed as doubtful by Philadelphia for Game 3 of the 76ers’ Eastern Conference playoff series at Miami on Thursday night.

Embiid was on the floor with the 76ers for their morning shootaround practice, but coach Brett Brown says there’s no change in the All-Star center’s status.

Embiid has missed Philadelphia’s last 10 games while recovering from a concussion and surgery that repaired a fractural orbital bone around his left eye. He’s no longer in the NBA’s concussion protocol.

He took to social media after the 76ers lost Game 2 of this series to the Heat, saying he’s tired of being “babied.”

Embiid has averaged 22.9 points and 11 rebounds in 63 games for the 76ers during the regular season.

Rumor: Lakers, Kawhi Leonard share mutual interest

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The Spurs seem like they won’t trade Kawhi Leonard.

That won’t stop teams from trying.

There’s a clear disconnect between Leonard and San Antonio. Even the potential of a player as good as Leonard becoming available has teams salivating.

The Clippers are reportedly assembling a trade offer for the L.A. native. Los Angeles’ other team – the Lakers – are also apparently expected to factor prominently.

Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

“I think they go in hard for Leonard once the season is over and once the dust settles in San Antonio,” one executive told Sporting News. “(Leonard) wants to go to LA. There probably won’t be public demands on that, but he has leverage. He is going to be a free agent (in 2019). He’s an LA guy and he can just let teams know he won’t re-sign next year with anyone but the Lakers.”

But make no mistake, the Lakers are the favorite here.

“I would say that’s the most likely thing,” another general manager told Sporting News. “He’s going to be their target any way you look at it, this summer or next summer. There’s not many other ways to explain what’s been going on with that situation other than him trying to get out of San Antonio.”

Of course, every team wants Leonard. He’s an elite two-way player when healthy. But teams will go to differing lengths to pursue him. If the Lakers will “go hard for Leonard,” that means something beyond just desiring him.

Under Magic Johnson, the Lakers have made no secret of their plan to acquire stars. That has largely been centered on 2018 free agents, but with that well drying up, talk has turned to 2019 free agents. If the Lakers can get a top 2019 free agent – Leonard – sooner, why wouldn’t they?

One reason is the cost. Trading with San Antonio would require dealing at least some combination of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. Signing Leonard outright in 2019 would be simpler.

But a trade is the only surefire way of getting Leonard. If the Lakers don’t trade for him, another team could. With promising young players and cap space, the Lakers have the tools to make an intriguing offer for Leonard.

Or, more likely, the Spurs could keep him. Their relationship isn’t necessarily beyond repair, and they can offer him a super-max contract extension this summer.

They might not offer it. Even if they do, he might not take it. If he doesn’t, he could pledge to re-sign with only certain teams – like the Lakers – and steer trade talks that way. You can see how the thinking develops:

Leonard might be unhappy in San Antonio. He grew up in Southern California. Therefore, he’ll engineer his way to the Lakers?

Maybe, and maybe these anonymous executives know something to that effect. But this mostly sounds lazily speculative.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.