It has been more than 48 hours when news broke that two time Sixth Man of the Year winner, Jamal Crawford, may be eyeing a trade from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the reigning Eastern Conference Champions. A move that makes perfect sense for both sides, maybe a bit too much sense.
For the Clippers, General Manager Rivers has loaded his bench with playmakers, hoping Head Coach Rivers can take advantage of such upgrades, which hurt the team in the 2015 playoffs, as evident by the epic collapse against the Houston Rockets, snagging two Rocket players in the process). With the additions of Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce, Pablo Prigioni and Josh Smith, the return of Austin Rivers and hopeful strides from sophomore to be, CJ Wilcox, quite a glut exists.
Not only is it a glut, but a bit of redundancy seems to be the case, as all of the above listed are capable of handling the rock, and need the ball to be effective. If used to its full advantage, however, with Crawford willing to relegate himself to a spot up shooter, it would be deadly as he was the sixth most effective spot up guy during the 2015 campaign, one slot behind JJ Redick, the projected starting two guard in Los Angeles.
A task that won't be easy to convince Crawford of, who is also known for his flashy handles, ability to nutmeg defenders, and numerous broken ankles. Another ball dominant player really isn't needed, and a partially guaranteed deal for 2016-17 boosts the value of the perennial sixth man candidate.
In comes Cleveland, who may lose JR Smith's offensive input off the bench. Linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, Smith was a pleasant surprise for the Ohio side, after being acquired from the New York Knicks mid-season. Though Smith and Crawford are similar, differences do exist.
For one, as mentioned, Crawford is a vastly superior handler of the rock, and when he wants too, he can dish dimes with the best of them. That time just seems to come very infrequently, as he looks for his shot often, and is probably the best tough shot maker behind Kobe Bryant, though, both tend to put themselves in said situation more than needed.
Smith has the day and night advantage on defense, though, not a stout defender himself. With a bigger build, Smith can bang with most wings in the post, and his athleticism allows him to stay in front of more opponents. Like Crawford's passing, this comes less likely than his coaches would prefer, quite a dip.
Comes down to the assets, something Cleveland doesn't have very much of, at least, not many they would be openly willing to deal away. A pipe dream for Rivers would be getting Tristan Thompson, who seems to be unhappy with just a qualifying offer on the horizon, though, L.A. would then need to add and don't have the pieces to do so.
Realistically, the deal would get finalized only if Rivers is willing to acquire a traded player exception and a second rounder, or two, in exchange for his sixth man. Financial impact would be great, under the assumption the TPE isn't used, saving Steve Ballmer just over $10 million. If used properly, Rivers can acquire an upgrade behind DeAndre Jordan, or just wait until next summer.
Ultimately, this trade makes way too much sense to happen, and everything will continue without any changes.