Jamal Crawford is the Clippers’ third leading scorer behind Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, despite being sixth on the team in minutes per game because he’s come off the bench in 56 of his 60 appearances.
Crawford is a huge part of what L.A. does, because he’s the only thing resembling a legitimate scoring option outside of the team’s starting five.
But according to Doc Rivers, the Clippers may be facing the very real prospect of heading to the postseason without him.
“Well, I’m concerned,” he said. “I mean, make no mistake about that. I mean, I was pretty confident that Blake (Griffin) would be back at some point, so I didn’t have concern on that. But I do have concern with Jamal; I’ll say that.”
Rivers was then asked the million-dollar question: Is it possible Crawford may not return at all this season?
“There’s a chance,” said Rivers, whose team today at 12:30 p.m. plays host to the New Orleans Pelicans. “You know, I don’t know right now because he’s improved, but not enough, I can tell you that. He’s nowhere near, in my opinion, playing. So we just have to hope he gets better.”
If the worst-case scenario becomes a reality, it would be a fairly significant blow to the Clippers’ hopes of doing any damage once the playoffs begin.
L.A. is riding a three-game winning streak, but is just 5-4 overall in the games that Crawford is missed. The remaining reserves are incapable of doing much at all, which is forcing the starters to play heavy minutes, even in games that result in blowout victories. The Clippers are having to rely on players like Austin Rivers and Nate Robison in Crawford’s absence, but can only afford to do so for very limited stretches.
DeAndre Jordan says he won’t ‘be greedy and sign a one-year deal’
“I’m not going to be greedy and sign a one-year deal,” Jordan said. “Nah. I’m just focused on getting it over with and focusing on playing again. I’m just trying to win here.”
Here’s a projection of how much Jordan would earn by:
Signing a five-year max contract with the Clippers this summer (blue)
Signing a one-year max contract with the Clippers and then re-signing for the five-year max in 2016 (red)
One-year max + Five-year max
Signing a one-year deal this summer could obviously be much more lucrative for Jordan.
However, there are other factors to consider.
Most notably, Jordan might not draw a max offer in 2016. He could get hurt or his production could slip. Taking the money now is definitely the safest route.
Jordan would also be in line for a new contract at age 31 rather than age 32 by signing a five-year deal this summer. Obviously, many variables will come into play between now and then. But the odds definitely favor Jordan being worth more at 31 than 32.
While Jordan’s decision comes down to his priorities, this is a more clear win for the Clippers (at least if they re-sign Jordan).
They already have major money committed to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin through 2018, and J.J. Redick and Spencer Hawes have decent-sized contracts that run two and three more years, respectively. Plus, cap hits for the waived Jordan Farmar, Carlos Delfino and Miroslav Raduljica add up.
Long story short, if the Clippers had to worry about paying Jordan new-TV max money, it could take them deep into the luxury tax. Locking him up on an old-TV deal limits their risk.
LeBron James still No. 1. He’s clear leader in shoe sales among active players.
Nike sold $340 million worth of James’ signature shoes in the last 12-months through January, up 13% from the prior year, according to SportScanInfo. It is nearly double the amount of the NBA’s second best seller, Kevin Durant….
There are more iterations of James’ shoe than any other player and his shoes are widely distributed, which helps boost sales. His sneakers are also huge sellers with kids. James earns an estimated $20 million a year from the $30 billion-in-sales Beaverton, Ore.-sports giant. Durant’s KD signature line of sneakers had sales of $195 million in 2014 for Nike, up 11% from the prior year. This follows a meteoric 400% rise in 2013 when Nike flooded the market with the popular KD VI….
The biggest gainer among NBA players with signature shoes was Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles Lakers’ guard has been a linchpin for Nike for years in China, where Bryant is adored. His U.S. shoe sales more than doubled last year to $105 million, up from $50 million, despite Bryant missing most of the past two seasons with injuries.
Of course, Jordan and the Air Jordan brand are still the undisputed champs. The Jordan Brand sales were up 17% in 2014 to $2.6 billion — to 58 percent of the market. Chris Paul is the highest earner of active players on the Jordan brand, with $32 million in sales of his signature shoes.
The other interesting note is that Nike now owns 95.5 percent of the shoe market with Adidas slipping to a 2.6 percent share. Their biggest name, Derrick Rose, has battled injury which hasn’t helped (although Damian Lillard is on the rise for them, with his first shoe having hit the market in January). This is why Adidas is getting out of making the official NBA apparel and jerseys to shift their focus on this market.
Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan says he’s going to look around in free agency
“I mean I’ve obviously been here seven years, and the past two have been great,” he said. “Doc (Clippers coach Doc Rivers) has been my biggest supporter and the best coach I’ve ever had. The team is great. The guys are great. We have great camaraderie. But the free agency process is definitely going to be a fun one.”
Jordan may flirt with other teams, there will be demand for his services, but expect him to remain a Clipper — and for Los Angeles to overpay a little to keep him.
The reality is the Clippers need his rebounding (14.8 a game this season), his play in the paint (shooting 71.8 percent), and his rim protecting shot blocking. More than that they can’t replace him if he bolts.
Jordan is making $11.4 million this year, and the Clippers will give him a raise off that number. Why? Because if he leaves the Clippers are still right up against the cap (due to the large salaries for Chris Paul and Blake Griffin), so the best the Clippers could do to replace him would be the mid-level exception. I’m not Jordan’s biggest fan, but the Clippers simply could not get someone close to what Jordan brings for the roughly $5.5 million of the mid-level (remember the Clips spent their mid-level last season on Spencer Hawes, he’s the caliber of player you get). The Clippers need to pay whatever it takes to keep Jordan.
Jordan also is close with Griffin. In the end, he’s almost certainly choose the big money and to keep playing for Doc Rivers.
But he’s going to look around a little.
Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis all pad MVP resumes
If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while thinking photos of people covered in honey are pretty cool…
1) It’s not alwayspretty, but James Harden gets the numbers, a little help, and the Ws. James Harden’s game is to attack and put pressure on everyone — the defenders to stop him and the referees not to call the contact he creates. It works. After a slow start to the game Sunday for Houston, Harden took over the final six minutes of the first half, putting up 18 of his 34 points in the quarter. It all started after Matt Barnes picked up a flagrant for throwing Harden down. It changed the flow of the game. Chris Paul did a solid job defending Harden late — Harden was 1-of-5 for four points in the fourth — but then the Clippers were undone by their own sloppiness with the game on the line. The Clippers had six fourth-quarter turnovers and seemed to go hunting for calls rather than shots. Harden forces contact, but he’s looking for his shot the whole time and finishes through that contact well.
Plus Harden got a little help.
Clippers/Rockets may a playoff series preview. I hope not. It would just be a lot of free throws and complaining to the officials from both sides. I prefer basketball.
2) Russell Westbrook keeps getting numbers — and getting his team wins they need to have. New Orleans lost to Denver Sunday, so Oklahoma City’s win Sunday moved them back into the eighth seed and final playoff spot in the West. They got it because of Westbrook. He scored 36 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. But more than that, as he has done through this entire stretch of basketball, he just puts pressure on the other team. He does it attacking in transition. He does it with his defense. Sometimes it is both.
He is just a force of nature right now. He’s also getting a lot of help — Steven Adams and Enes Kanter combined for 32 points and 29 boards against Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah.
3) Anthony Davis puts up numbers to rival anyone else, can we get the man some help? Check out Anthony Davis’ final line from Sunday: 36 points, 14 rebounds, nine blocks, and seven assists. According to Basketball-Reference.com, no other player in the last 30 seasons has posted a line with at least those numbers. Nobody. Still the Pelicans lost 118-111. There are a couple things at play in that double-overtime result. First, sometimes it’s about when you catch a team on the schedule, and interim coach Melvin Hunt has Denver playing well again. However, the Pelicans have issues. With Ryan Anderson down they lack three-point shooting (Tyreke Evans was 4-of-11, every one else on New Orleans was a combined for 2-of-11). When they beat the Nuggets recently, Evans and Eric Gordon had success posting up Ty Lawson, but the Pelicans went away from that Sunday. The Pelicans’ defense is inconsistent and while Davis blocked everything he could the Nuggets still had 64 points in the paint. Finally, the Pelicans were just sloppy with the ball in stretches. This was the kind of game they needed to get into the playoffs, and they lost. Even with Davis doing things like this.
4) LeBron tweaked knee and could sit out second return to Miami Monday. LeBron put up impressive numbers — 21 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists — pretty quietly Sunday as the Cavaliers had little trouble against the Magic. But things got scary for Cleveland in the third quarter when LeBron tried to block Dewayne Dedmon’s shot, landed awkwardly and tweaked his knee. LeBron played through it, but after the game wondered if he would need to sit out a game or two to rest it, just to be safe. The Cavaliers travel to Miami Monday night, and while that game loses some luster without LeBron Cleveland should be able to beat slumping Miami. Maybe even Kevin Love will get to play.
5) Manu Ginobili can still make plays, which is why the Spurs will miss him for the next week. Manu Ginobili is showing his age this season. The Spurs’ fan favorite is shooting just 43 percent, and he’s been more of a solid role player than guy you lean on (Kawhi Leonard has taken over his spot in the Spurs big three). But give him the chance and Ginobili can still make plays, just ask Kevin Martin.
Which is why the Spurs will miss him — Ginobili sprained his ankle in the win over Minnesota and will be out a week to 10 days.