Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford shares a close relationship with Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas. Both are from the Seattle area, and the pair became close while Thomas was still in high school and Crawford was an NBA player. Crawford and the Cavs shared a mutual interest this past summer when Crawford was a free agent. The Cavs ended up trading for Thomas, but Crawford had already signed with the Timberwolves at that point. Crawford tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com that had the Thomas trade happened before he’d signed with Minnesota, he would have signed in Cleveland:
Had the trade occurred before or during Crawford’s free agency, Crawford said he’d have come to Cleveland.
“That’s my brother,” Crawford said. “We’re past like friends or basketball relationship. … Like, we go on vacation, like it’s his family and my family. … so that would’ve had to change things.”
Crawford said Thomas called him as soon as he was traded to the Cavs, and after Thomas hung up, Thomas’ wife and parents called.
Thomas and Crawford still play basketball together, but in the summer, at local gyms, YMCAs and high schools.
Crawford explained his reasoning for signing with the Timberwolves to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin :
Jamal Crawford and the Cleveland Cavaliers had mutual interest this past offseason. How close did they come to a deal? “I think it was close, honestly,” said Crawford, who ultimately signed with Minnesota. “I think it was one of the few teams, but the only thing was they were so already put together. Same thing with Golden State. If I would go there and we would win a championship, I’d be like ‘OK, what’s next Jamal?’ You want to embrace that journey and I wanted to go through it with these guys. There’s nothing against , like, I have the ultimate respect for the Cavs and the Warriors and all those teams. But they’re already there. I wanted to go somewhere where they can kind of build up.”