The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking into all possibilities on how to maximize the nonguaranteed contract of center Brendan Haywood and have turned their attention to perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford. The Cavs recently entered trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire Joe Johnson for Haywood but complications on that front -- and a possible humungous luxury tax bill -- makes the deal unlikely.
Given complexities of the Joe Johnson talks, sources say Cavs looking into the prospect of a simpler deal headlined by Crawford and Haywood
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 6, 2015
In order for the Cavaliers to add Johnson, who will earn almost $25 million in the final year of his contract, Cavs General Manager David Griffin would have to send out the Haywood contract, foot a luxury tax in the vicinity of $200 million and let go of Anderson Varejao. Crawford, who will earn just $5 million this season, is the more ideal target.
On the other hand, the Clippers have lofty goals of freeing up cap space to chase a big man to replace DeAndre Jordan, who bolted to the Dallas Mavericks. The team also considered trading Crawford, 35, during last year’s deadline but maintained it is not shopping the sharpshooter this year. The appeal of the $10.5 million nonguaranteed contract of Haywood holds some value for the Clippers, who can use only a little over the veteran’s minimum to entice the remaining free agents in the market to join stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
The Miami Heat have also inquired about bringing Crawford’s talent to South Beach, mainly as an insurance policy for Dwyane Wade, who usually misses a couple of games every season, but no progress has been made on that front.
Crawford showed signs of slippage last year but still averaged close to 16 points and two assists per game while shooting an unremarkable 32 percent from three-point range. However, his 15-year experience as a durable marksman continues to attract teams with championship aspirations.
The Cavaliers have until July 31 to trade Haywood -- or waive him before his contract becomes fully guaranteed Aug. 1.