The Cavaliers may be looking to add a better version of J.R. Smith.
The Clippers are looking for a way to turn Jamal Crawford and his contract into something bigger that would let them chase a better center to replace DeAndre Jordan.
Which is why the Clippers and Cavaliers are discussing a Jamal Crawford for the contract of Brendan Haywood trade, reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.
The idea of the Cavaliers trading for Joe Johnson comes with Cleveland having to likely ship out Anderson Varejao as well, then Dan Gilbert would have a steep tax bill to pay (the salary plus tax would be in the $200 million range). J.R. Smith is erratic.
Which is why the Crawford-for-Haywood trade could work for both sides.
Crawford was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year two years ago. However, last year he shot just 32.7 percent from three and his game overall took a step back (although his PER of 16.3 was above the league average and better than Smith and Johnson). Crawford is owed just $5.6 million next season, so the Cavs would get better — or at least more steady — help off the bench and save money (the Clippers would need to include non-guaranteed contracts like Lester Hudson’s in the deal to make the numbers work).
For the Clippers, it’s all about $10.5 million, fully unguaranteed contract of Haywood and flipping that for another asset. The Clippers can get a better player along their now-depleted front line for Haywood’s contract than they can for Crawford outright. (If the Clippers just waive Haywood they would drop down in the range to have a full mid-level exception of about $5.7 million to give out, but that’s no better than just trading Crawford.)
The Clippers will count on Lance Stephenson to replace Crawford’s production.
Haywood’s contract becomes guaranteed on Aug. 1, so as long as whatever team waives him by July 31 saves all that cash. Sadly, the piece of paper with Haywood’s name on it is worth far more than Haywood on the court right now.
The Cavaliers have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
They’ll probably have LeBron James and Tristan Thompson.
But, as that get sorted out, the Cavaliers have the title of betting favorites to win the 2016 NBA championship.
Per Bovada, the odds for each team:
- Cleveland Cavaliers 11/4
- Golden State Warriors 9/2
- San Antonio Spurs 9/2
- Oklahoma City Thunder 15/2
- Chicago Bulls 16/1
- Dallas Mavericks 20/1
- Houston Rockets 20/1
- Los Angeles Clippers 20/1
- Memphis Grizzlies 28/1
- Atlanta Hawks 33/1
- New Orleans Pelicans 33/1
- Indiana Pacers 40/1
- Miami Heat 40/1
- Toronto Raptors 40/1
- Washington Wizards 40/1
- Los Angeles Lakers 50/1
- Milwaukee Bucks 50/1
- Boston Celtics 66/1
- Portland Trailblazers 75/1
- Detroit Pistons 100/1
- Phoenix Suns 100/1
- Utah Jazz 100/1
- Brooklyn Nets 150/1
- Denver Nuggets 150/1
- Minnesota Timberwolves 150/1
- New York Knicks 150/1
- Sacramento Kings 150/1
- Charlotte Hornets 250/1
- Orlando Magic 250/1
- Philadelphia 76ers 250/1
By design, none of these odds look great. At this point, I wouldn’t take a single one of these.
But, of every team, the Lakers are definitely most over-valued at 50/1. Apparently, plenty of Lakers fans – and there are a lot of them – are just giving their money to Bovada.
The Cavaliers and Nets were reportedly discussing a trade for Joe Johnson.
Brendan Haywood, whose contract is fully unguaranteed and therefore could be immediately waived with no cap hit, would be the centerpiece going to Brooklyn. But he alone doesn’t make enough to match Johnson’s salary. So, Anderson Varejao would also likely be involved.
One problem: Nobody wants Varejao, who is owed $9,638,554, $10,361,446 ($9,361,446 guaranteed) and $10,000,000 ($0 guaranteed) the next three seasons.
Signing Varejao to a contract extension before the season seemed silly. It became even worse when Varejao suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in December.
Now, Varejao – who turns 33 before the season – is overpaid and damaged goods. A trade that depends on some mystery team taking him probably won’t happen.
Maybe the Nets agree to take him in order to dump Johnson and lower their luxury-tax bill. Or maybe the Cavaliers want Johnson so badly, they send draft picks to entice Brooklyn – or a third team like the the 76ers – to take Varejao.
So, I wouldn’t call this dead yet. But don’t hold your breath.