Jamal Crawford, who the Cavaliers will be reportedly interested in when gets bought out by the Hawks, has spoken to LeBron James about joining the Cavs and is “very interested” in coming to Cleveland, according to a report for cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. According to Vardon, the buyout will come “very soon.”
From Vardon’s report:
Sources indicated it was Crawford who reached out to James, who is vacationing with his family. James and Crawford have known each other for all of James' 14 pro seasons (Crawford's played 17), and Crawford has other friends on the Cavs, too.
Since it was reported early July 4 that Crawford would be part of a three-team trade to bring Danilo Gallinari from Denver to the Clippers and Crawford would end up in Atlanta, he's been preparing to seek a buyout and hit the market as a free agent.
Crawford's been linked in reports to the Timberwolves, Wizards and Celtics, but again, the Hawks must first buy him out for him to have his pick. A source said the buyout would come "very soon."
Were the Cavs to pursue Crawford, it’s unclear what type of contract they’d be wiling to offer him. Cleveland still has it’s taxpayer mid-level exception to use — it’s worth $5.2 million — and they could give him all or part of it. It’s worth noting that Cleveland will likely have to use its MLE to bring over Cedi Osman from Turkey.
It’s also unclear how much money Crawford wants. The deal he’s about to be bought out of is worth $14,246,988 this year and $14.5 million next year. At 37, he’s been around long enough to make a fair amount of money. Would he be willing to sign the veteran’s minimum of $2.33 million in oder to have his best chance at a title? And were he to sign a minimum deal, that would give the Cavs a better chance to add other players and maintain some semblance of flexibility.
It’s also interesting that James spoke to Crawford. While he didn’t reach out — and he reportedly isn’t helping the Cavs recruit players — James’ words were apparently enough to get him interested coming to Cleveland. It’s not a done deal, and it’s fair to question the necessity of Crawford, but LeBron can still help. That’s a good thing.
Crawford, 37, has spent 17 years in the NBA. He was originally drafted eighth overall in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Cavs, but had his rights traded to the Bulls for Chris Mihm. He averaged 12.3 points per game last year for the Clippers while shooting 41.3 percent from the field.