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NBA Free Agency: Cavs reportedly have interest in Jamal Crawford

The veteran guard is expected to be bought out by the Atlanta Hawks.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

On July 4, the Clippers dealt veteran guard Jamal Crawford to the Hawks in a three-team deal that also sent Danilo Gallinari from the Nuggets to the Clippers.

Once Crawford’s move to Atlanta is officially completed, he is expected to be bought out of the last two years of his contract. When he hits the open market, the Cavaliers are expected to be interested in Crawford, according to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears. The Wolves and Wizards are also expected to have interested. Yesterday, it was reported that Crawford wanted to sign with the Lakers, but interest from both sides seems to have cooled.

Crawford, 37, has played for the Clippers, Trail Blazers, Hawks, Warriors, Knicks and Bulls during his career. Last season in Los Angeles, he averaged 12.3 points per game while shooting 41.3 percent from the field and 36 percent three as L.A.’s sixth man.

The one thing Crawford is good at is getting buckets, which is something the Cavs are already really, really good at. He’s also a bad defender and wouldn’t help the Cavs on an end of the floor they struggled on last year.

Crawford falls in line with the type of players Cleveland has targeted this summer. Jose Calderon, who the team signed on the first day of free agency, is a one-way player like Crawford and near the end of his career. Zach Randolph, who ultimately signed with the Kings on a deal the Cavs couldn’t match, is more useful on defense, but also is an offense-first player. Even Kyle Korver, who the Cavs re-signed at a reasonable price, is a one-way player closer to the end of his career than the start.

It’s also unclear how much it would take to add Crawford. Cleveland hasn’t used it’s taxpayer midlevel exception left, which is worth a little over $5 million. But the Cavs may need to keep that open in order to bring over Cedi Osman from Turkey. So, would Crawford sign for the minimum? And would the Cavs be wiser to target players like Gerald Henderson or Luc Mbah a Moute who are useful on defense? And, for the record, it’s July 6 the Cavs still don’t have an official replacement for David Griffin to target players and negotiate contracts.

The Cavs only have 12 players on the roster currently, so they have to sign players to fill out the roster. But Crawford, and basically everyone else they’ve been linked to, aren’t the type of players they should be targeting. Older veterans who are only effective on one side of the ball aren’t going to help the Cavs against Warriors.