Are the Nets interested in Jordan Crawford?

Jordan Crawford
Are the Nets suitors for the Boston Celtics point guard? (AP)
Jordan Crawford
Are the Nets suitors for the Boston Celtics point guard? (AP)

Are the Brooklyn Nets in the mix for Boston Celtics guard Jordan Crawford? It appears so, given a report from well-connected retired reporter Peter Vecsey:

Crawford has played all 39 Celtics games (35 starts), averaging 13.7 points, a career-high 5.7 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game, but with All-star guard Rajon Rondo returning to the court, the Celtics are shopping him around.

In a weird way, the point guard Crawford could fill a role with center Brook Lopez out for the season. As the Nets have elected to play a new smaller lineup with Paul Pierce at power forward and Kevin Garnett at center, they’ve also looked at some two-point guard combinations with Shaun Livingston and Deron Williams. But if they’ve got both of those guards in the starting lineup, they don’t have any reliable backups — the only other point guard on the roster is the rarely used second-year guard Tyshawn Taylor, who is not a part of Kidd’s rotation. Acquiring Crawford without giving up a rotation player makes that more palatable.

Crawford has a reputation as a ball-dominant chucker and not a particularly great shooter, but has begun to alleviate some of those concerns. Prior to joining the Celtics, he shot at a rate of nearly one shot every two minutes on the floor, but has dialed that back in Boston, averaging a career-low 13.5 shots per 36 minutes in a Celtics uniform. But his shooting still remains in doubt: according to the NBA’s SportVU tracking data, Crawford has only put up an effective field goal percentage of 49.7 percent on catch-and-shoot opportunities on 4.8 catch-and-shoot attempts per game, a pedestrian figure.

The 25-year-old Crawford is in the last year of a contract worth approximately $2.1 million, making him an easy contract to trade for. Even though he has a qualifying offer next year, that is technically not considered part of his contract, and he could be swallowed into the team’s Disabled Player Exception. If they decided to save that, the Nets could trade Reggie Evans in a one-for-one deal for Crawford, which may draw the ire of Kevin Garnett and cost the team about $500,000 (plus about a 400% tax), but would result in an immediate on-court upgrade. Or, since Boston has a couple of trade exceptions, they could package Taylor and/or Shengelia in the deal to save some luxury tax money. (Theoretically, they could include either Andrei Kirilenko or Mirza Teletovic, but that’s too steep a price.)

The Nets aren’t the only team looking at Crawford, as noted in Vecsey’s report, but they are the most limited in their options. They can’t trade a first-rounder until 2020, and their most tantalizing young player is Bojan Bogdanovic, who has yet to play in the NBA. They also can’t trade any of the Celtics players they acquired back to Boston within one year, per the rules of the CBA. That’s Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry. Conversely, the Celtics can’t return MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, or Gerald Wallace, if they’re looking to shed salary.

We’ll keep an eye on what happens.

UPDATE: So much for that: Crawford has been dealt with former Nets guard MarShon Brooks to the Golden State Warriors.

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