NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Report: Knicks, Heat, Cavs in pursuit of Crawford — Few players can get as hot off the bench scoring-wise in the NBA like Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford. That attribute makes him someone who is always in demand and that’s true this summer, too. Although he’s still under contract with the Clippers, the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat are all interested in trading for him. The New York Daily News‘ Frank Isola has more:
The Knicks have expressed interest in acquiring Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, according to a source.
The Knicks would use the trade exception that they obtained from Cleveland in last year’s J.R. Smith trade. But in order for the Knicks to complete the deal with the Clippers, they would have to get creative and would likely have to include a third team. Coincidentally, the Cavs are also pursuing a deal for Crawford, the 34-year-old former Sixth Man of the Year. Miami is another team that is also interested in Crawford.
Smith, 29, opted out of the final year of his contract and remains unsigned. Crawford becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2016.
Crawford signed a free-agent deal with the Knicks 11 years ago and was one of then-President Isiah Thomas’ first signature moves. Crawford, who played his first four seasons with the Bulls, was traded in November of 2008 to Golden State by Donnie Walsh as the Knicks began clearing cap space.
Crawford has maintained close ties with several high-ranking officials in the organization, including Garden chairman James Dolan and Thomas, who currently runs the Liberty.
No. 2: Shaq takes Jordan over LeBron … but neither is his No. 1 all-time — Shaquille O’Neal got a bit of a discussion started on the Internet earlier this summer when he said an all-time Lakers team would top an all-time Bulls team. Those statements irked ex-Bulls star Scottie Pippen and, later on, Michael Jordan chimed in on the topic, too. O’Neal was recently in Hong Kong to promote an energy drink and the question of whether he’d take Jordan or LeBron James in a game of 1-on-1 emerged. Shaq didn’t hold back on his pick, either, reports Agence France Presse:
Shaquille O’Neal weighed into basketball’s great debate on Tuesday when he backed a young Michael Jordan to beat LeBron James one-on-one — but added that both were outshone by the legendary Dr. J.
O’Neal, visiting Hong Kong to promote an energy drink, faced both Jordan and James in their prime and when asked who would win a hypothetical match-up, he didn’t hesitate.
“Mike,” said O’Neal, winner of four NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2002) and the Miami Heat (2006). “I think you have to go with a young Jordan every time.
“It would be an interesting game,” said O’Neal. “Young LeBron was more like (Lakers Hall of Famer) Magic Johnson. He was sort of like Magic with Jordan’s abilities. He liked to pass, and he liked to get it up.
“But Mike was Mike. He was just special, like no one else. He always did things no one else could do, and things you couldn’t compare to anyone else. So he was special, and he’d win.”
There has also been much debate over whether he, or the now-retired Jordan -– with six NBA titles and five NBA MVPs to his name –- could be labelled the greatest of all time.
But O’Neal threw another player into the mix when he said 1970s and 1980s superstar Julius Erving AKA Dr. J was the best he had ever seen.
“I’ve seen young Mike and young LeBron and I must say Dr. J is still my favourite player,” said O’Neal. “A lot of people today don’t even mention his name but to me I still think he was the best. But these are questions that we’ll never know the answer to.
“It’s a bit like if I met Bruce Lee in an alleyway. Who would win? You’ll never know. Some people say well Bruce would kick Shaq’s ass. Some people say well Shaq is two times bigger than Bruce Lee. It’s a good question, a good conversation. But we’ll never know.”
No. 3: Report: Terry returning to Rockets — Combo guard Jason Terry has logged 16 NBA seasons and spent nine of those seasons with a team in Texas (eight with Dallas, one with Houston). For season No. 17, he’ll be staying in the Lone Star State. According to Shams Charania of RealGM.com, Terry will return to the Rockets for the 2015-16 season:
Jason Terry has agreed to re-sign with the Houston Rockets on a one-year, $1.5 million contract, league sources tell RealGM.
The New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz also had strong dialogue to sign Terry with his agent, Byron Irvin. Ultimately, the opportunity to win and cohesive recruitment from Rockets players and coaches pushed Terry to return. Terry has played an immense role in the Rockets’ locker room, becoming an integral role player in the 2015 postseason alongside James Harden in the backcourt.
Terry averaged 21.3 minutes per game in 77 appearances last season with the Rockets and started all 17 playoff games. The Rockets acquired Terry during the 2014 offseason from the Sacramento Kings.
Terry turns 38 in September and is entering his 17th NBA season.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid had bone graft surgery on his right foot and will miss all of 2015-16 … The Atlanta Hawks have signed veteran high-flyer Jason Richardson … ICYMI, Australia has locked up a 2016 Olympics berth … New Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone genuinely wishes Ty Lawson well in Houston … Eric Gordon will be taking part in the New Orleans Pelicans’ voluntary workouts …