Jamal Crawford was the Clippers’ only reliable reserve last year.
Now, he’s on a suddenly loaded team that projects to start Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and bring Crawford, Austin Rivers, Lance Stephenson, Wesley Johnson, Josh Smith and Cole Aldrich off the bench.
Is Crawford excited? Maybe.
But he also wishes he were a free agent.
Let’s not mistake Crawford’s desire to be a free agent for him being a malcontent.
If he were a free agent, he might re-sign with the Clippers. He’d probably get more than the $5,675,000 he’s owed next season – or at least more security with a long-term deal.
He’d also get the freedom to choose his team. He might see himself as somewhat superfluous with Rivers and Stephenson.
As is, the Clippers can trade him anywhere without giving him a say. (And they might.)
Most players probably wish they could be free agents now. John Wall certainly does, and that has nothing to do with him wanting to leave the Wizards. This is a summer to make money, and there’s the freedom of choice that always exists with free agency.
The Clippers present a good situation – just not so good that Crawford would reject the ability to explore the market on his own terms. That’s not only reasonable, it’s quite logical.
The Clippers entered the 2015 NBA draft without any picks, but they bought the No. 55 selection – used to draft Branden Dawson – for $630,000.
The former Michigan State forward has played well in summer league, so the Clippers aren’t letting their investment go to waste.
The L.A. Clippers announced today the team has signed forward Branden Dawson.
Presumably, Dawson got a minimum contract, because that’s all the Clippers have to offer. They’ll get extra savings because they drafted him rather than hoping he’d sign as undrafted free agent.
Undrafted players making less than the minimum salary for a third-year player ($947,276) count toward the luxury tax at the minimum salary for a third-year player .
Drafted players making less than the minimum salary for a third-year player ($947,276) count toward the luxury tax at their actual salary.
So, Dawson – whose rookie minimum salary is $525,093 – will count just $525,093 toward the luxury tax as opposed to $947,276 if he had been undrafted but received the exact same contract.
Considering the tax bracket the Clippers project to reach, that’s a tax savings of $1,055,458 – more than they paid for the draft pick used on Dawson.
On the court, Dawson is a steady defender and rebounder with glaring holes in his game, mainly shooting and dribbling. He could find situational minutes behind Paul Pierce and Wesley Johnson.
The Clippers failed their biggest offseason job: Re-signing DeAndre Jordan, who bolted for the Mavericks.
But if you can get past that – though you really shouldn’t – the Clippers have done a nice job using their limited assets to improve around their Chris Paul-Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan core.
They traded for Lance Stephenson once his value bottomed out and agreed to sign Paul Pierce to an amount equal to the taxpayer mid-level exception.
Now, as they hoped, they’re adding Wesley Johnson on a team-friendly deal.
Shams Charania of RealGM:
Dan Woike of the Orange County Register:
Johnson is excellent value on a minimum contract. He fits the rough profile of a 3-and-D combo forward, though he excels at neither skill. He’s got a good chance to crack the Clippers’ rotation after finding his way with the Lakers the last couple years.
Because he took just the minimum, the Clippers still have $2,088,000 of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception available after using the rest on Pierce. With Jordan leaving, the Clippers suddenly have the full MLE available. If they can use the rest on someone better than Johnson, they’ll be in business.