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.
After a rough start to the season, the Kings may be finding their footing. First, Sacramento went into Dallas and picked up a win on Sunday.
Monday, on the second night of a back-to-back, the Kings took down the Rockets in Houston.
Buddy Hield had tied the game with a leaning three-pointer with eight seconds left. Houston called a timeout, then Mike D’Antoni made a smart call having the Rockets bring the ball up the length of the court. Russell Westbrook brought the ball up, the Kings sold out to keep the ball out of James’ Harden’s hands, and that left a lane for Westbrook to blow by Heild and get all the way to the rim for a layup. Houston was up 118-116 with one second left on the clock, and Westbrook was yelling “game over.”
Nemanja Bjelica had another idea.
Smart play design by Luke Walton. It forced P.J. Tucker to make a decision, he helped on Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s flare screen then had to decide between dropping back to help protect against a Harrison Barnes rim run — what he did — or come out with Bjelica. The design left Bjelica with a clean look at a three.
The back-to-back wins improve the Kings to 10-13, just a game out of the playoffs in the West. And this week they will get Marvin Bagley III back.
Things may be turning for the Kings.
Knicks legend Patrick Ewing currently is waist deep… well, at his height maybe knee deep, in the college basketball season. His Georgetown team is off to a solid 6-3 start with a game at Syracuse coming up this Saturday.
He still has time for his SiriusXM radio show, “Center Court with Patrick Ewing,” where he said he was “very disappointed” to see David Fizdale let go.
“Very disappointed in that. I think that Fiz is an outstanding coach. I’ve had an opportunity to get to know him over the years, met him when he was working for the Hawks. And just want to let him know that I support him and I know he’s looking forward to his next opportunity, but he is a very good coach and I was disappointed to see him getting let go.”
Coaches back the other coaches, it’s a fraternity that way. Rick Carlise is the master of it.
Fizdale is not blameless for the current state of the Knicks, his rotations and ability to develop young players certainly are in question, but he wasn’t the root of the problem. The best analogy I can come up with is Fizdale was the first contestant sent home on “Chopped”: Nobody was going to make a delicious meal out of the horribly mismatched ingredients in that basket, but the chef still has to do something cohesive with it. Fizdale did not.
The question becomes, is team president Steve Mills — the long-time Knicks employee who has known how to survive in James Dolan’s world — going to finally be let go and a big name brought in, or are the Knicks just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Don’t make Paul George angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry (if you’re the opposing team).
It was a couple of seasons ago, but the wounds of Paul George forcing his way out of Indiana are still fresh for Pacers fans, so they booed him when he handed the ball at points during the Clippers visit to Indiana.
George’s response? Go get buckets and tell the crowd to “shhh.”
Like 21 points in the first half buckets.
And 34 points after three quarters, with seven from beyond the arc.
The Clippers — without Kawhi Leonard on the back-to-back — were up double digits in the fourth quarter in Indiana. George will be your player of the game for L.A.
Kevin Love has heard it all before.
Rumors floated around Cleveland was going to trade Love in the summer of 2015 after his first season with the team. They sprung up again the next season at the trade deadline — before Love played a central role in Cleveland winning a ring. The rumors kept springing up, especially after LeBron James left. Then this past summer, Love signed a four-year, $120 million extension to stay in Cleveland.
That has not stopped the rumors.
Love was asked about the rumors and sounded unmoved by them but a little frustrated, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
“Nothing’s changed,” Love told ESPN after Cleveland’s morning shootaround at TD Garden. “What I mean by that is, since I got here they’ve been … since I f—ing got here, there’s been talk of me being traded, so it’s nothing different. If they decide to go that way, I’ve just got to know it’s part of the business, or if we decide to go that way, it’s part of the business.
“Truthfully, I don’t know how it’s going to play out, because I see both sides.”
This time it feels like Love could get moved, if not at the trade deadline then this summer — and he wants to go to a contender.
The logic is simple: Cleveland is rebuilding, Love is still a stretch four and good rebounder who can help a playoff team. Love is averaging 16.1 points and 10.5 rebounds a game, is shooting 37.1 percent from three, and remains one of the best outlet passers in the game. Boston, Denver, Portland and a host of other teams could use him this season.
The challenge is that massive contract, which is why a trade may be put off until next summer.
Whatever happens, Love isn’t going to stress over it.