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

45 Comments

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.

Rumor: Pelicans interested in trading for Wizards’ Otto Porter

Will Newton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Wizards (5-11) are open for business.

John Wall and Bradley Beal are the big names in trade talks, but how about Otto Porter?

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:

There are whispers that New Orleans is interested in Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr.

The Pelicans badly need an upgrade at small forward, and Porter – who has at least somewhat fallen out of favor in Washington – fits the bill. He’s an ideal role player – an excellent 3-point shooter and solid defensively when not overmatched defensively. He could become more assertive, but part of his value lies in his ability to blend. On a team with superstar Anthony Davis, complementary skills are important.

The catch: Porter is earning $26,011,913 this season then due $55,739,815 the next two years.

He’s overpaid, but he can still play. New Orleans, trying to impress Davis before offering him a super-max extension next summer, might view Porter as an acceptable risk. Especially if the Pelicans can unload overpaid Solomon Hill in a trade.

Washington could accept Hill and another player or two and even escape the luxury tax this season. The Wizards would surely want positive-value players and/or picks, too.

There seems to be a middle ground where a Porter trade appeals to both teams. The big question: Can Washington and New Orleans find it?

Report: Grizzlies in ‘extensive discussions’ with Joakim Noah

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marc Gasol has been awesome this season. The 33-year-old is holding off questions about his decline that reached fever pitch last season. He’s deferring just a little more offensively to become much more efficient and save energy to play superb defense.

The Grizzlies have played like a 61-win team with him on the court this season.

But they’ve also played like a 17-win team when he sits.

A potential solution to Memphis backup-center problem? Joakim Noah.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ivan Rabb haven’t cut it at center behind Gasol. (Jackson has been better at power forward.) JaMychal Green could work, but he’s just getting healthy, and he’s also more of a power forward.

So, Noah could be another option. He definitely has the size for the position. Performing better than the Grizzlies’ other backup centers is not a high bar.

But I still doubt Noah helps Memphis. The 33-year-old looked so wash up with the Knicks, not even Tom Thibodeau would sign the former Bull.

Pelicans: Elfrid Payton out six weeks

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Pelicans are 5-1 when Elfrid Payton plays and 4-6 when he doesn’t.

New Orleans will have to find a winning formula without its starting point guard.

Pelicans release:

New Orleans Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton, who suffered a fractured left fifth finger against the New York Knicks on November 16, will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair the fracture. Payton is expected to miss approximately six weeks.

It’s not that Payton is great, though he has been solid this season. It’s that the Pelicans are ill-equipped to deal with this injury.

Jrue Holiday can shift to point guard, but that weakens New Orleans even further on the wing. Without Payton, the Pelicans are also forced to give more playing time to substandard players at point guard: Ian Clark, Tim Frazier and Frank Jackson.

At least New Orleans can pivot its offense to run the ball through Anthony Davis and Julius Randle. Those skilled bigs can distribute.

The Pelicans are in the middle of a tight playoff race. They have little margin for error, and this injury cuts deeply into it.

Report: Cavaliers GM Koby Altman told LeBron James they wouldn’t trade Kyrie Irving

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

LeBron James told the Cavaliers not to trade Kyrie Irving last year. LeBron didn’t do anything to win over the point guard, who asked out. But LeBron still told Cleveland not to honor the request.

LeBron’s last message on the top went to Cavs general manager Koby Altman shortly before they dealt Irving to the Celtics.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

James was adamant on the call — do not trade Irving, especially to the Celtics. By the end of the call, according to four separate accounts of people present for the conversation, Altman told James the trade would not occur.

James suggested he didn’t feel he was lied to by Altman, so much as Altman was overruled by owner Dan Gilbert.

“You realize at that point in time, take nothing from Koby, because Koby (was just named GM), but at that point in time, you realize that Koby’s not the only one running the team, as (former GM David Griffin) had done, and that’s why Griff was let go pretty much,” James said.

Cavs front-office officials declined to be quoted for this story but disputed that Altman gave James any indication the trade would not occur. They also said Altman asked James whether he would commit to the Cavs long-term if Irving were not traded, and James said no.

If he didn’t have the authority to keep Irving, Altman shouldn’t have said he would.

Maybe Altman didn’t know he lacked that authority. He was new in the job, after all. So, maybe his error was easily forgivable. But it sounds like an error, nonetheless.

The Cavaliers also didn’t necessarily err by trading Irving. The package they got proved problematic, but the concept of trading the disgruntled star had more merit to the team than LeBron. LeBron lasted only one more season in Cleveland, and it seems likely – though not certain – he would have left even if the Cavs listened to him on Irving. That meant, the Cavaliers could have been left without LeBron and trying to trade Irving in the final year of his contract, when his trade value would have been lower. LeBron might have just wanted to use Irving for one more playoff run then leave Cleveland holding the bag.

The communication issues are a bigger issue. It’s unclear how to divvy blame between Gilbert, Altman and LeBron, but that call ended with those three on different pages. And it doesn’t seem LeBron’s exit has fixed the problem in Cleveland. Since, the Cavs:

Again, it’s unclear whether Gilbert, Altman or others are the problem. But that’s a lot of disarray under Altman, and at a certain point, it’s his responsibility to ensure proper communication is flowing smoothly within the organization.

There are numerous reasons LeBron left for the Lakers. But it’s hard to overlook the Cavaliers’ crummy management in the last year.