Report: Jamal Crawford would want to play for Cavaliers

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The Cavaliers and Clippers reportedly discussed a Jamal Crawford trade. Asked about joining Cleveland, Crawford said he wished he were a free agent.

In case you can’t connect the dots…

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

I know Jamal personally, and I know he would definitely like to be a part of the Cavaliers’ organization.

Jamal is one guy off the top of my head that I know would be a fit, and I know that they’ll be looking at him.

They want to use that exception for a wing player.

Let’s be clear: This doesn’t mean Crawford doesn’t also want to play for the Clippers. Many role players want to join LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in Cleveland for the open shots and championship chance, but Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan offer a similar opportunity.

The Clippers might not want to keep Crawford, though. He’s somewhat superfluous with Lance Stephenson, Austin Rivers and Pablo Prigioni coming off the bench. The Clippers might be happy to flip Crawford for just salary relief. Shedding Crawford would save the Clippers $16,180,533 – $5,675,000 in salary and $10,505,533 in projected luxury-tax payments.

The Cavaliers could absorb Crawford into their Brendan Haywood trade exception. That would create an even higher tax bill than the Clippers face with Crawford – the exact amount depends on salaries for Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith – but Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has clearly green-lit massive spending.

How much Cleveland could use Crawford on the court depends whether Smith re-signs.

If Smith doesn’t, Crawford is a decent alternative as a spot-up shooter. His 3-point shooting sunk to 32.7% last season, but that was due to off-the dribble 3-pointers – which fell to 25.0% from 36.4% the year prior. Meanwhile, Crawford’s 3-point shooting without dribbling prior to launching ticked up from 36.0% to 38.0%.

If Smith returns, Crawford is even more of a luxury as another shooter. With the attention LeBron, Irving and Love attract, Cleveland can always use more spot-up threats.

Mo Williams filled the Cavaliers’ major need for an off-the-bench shot creator. The 35-year-old Crawford has declined in that regard, but there’s at least hope he could provide a little insurance.

The Cavaliers don’t need Crawford, at least not considering they could just sign Smith. But if Gilbert is willing to pay for him and the Clippers are willing to dump him for minimal return, the only question is whether Cleveland could better use that portion of the Haywood exception. Crawford would definitely strengthen the Cavs.