Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas and Jamal Crawford are close friends. In fact, Thomas says they are “best friends,” which would explain why they ate dinner together ahead of their Monday night match-up in Minneapolis.
There was a time when the Cavs were interested in Crawford’s services, but the two sides were unable to come to an agreement. However, if Thomas had already been acquired by the Cavs, there could have been a different story to tell.
Separately, Crawford was considering the Cavs as a destination in free agency last summer, along with the Warriors, but settled on the Timberwolves. Minnesota paid him more than the Cavs were offering. Cleveland wanted him to come on a veteran’s minimum, while Crawford wanted the Cavs to use their $5.2 million mid-level exception. The Cavs chose to give a portion of the mid-level to rookie Cedi Osman to bring him over from Turkey, and Crawford said he chose the Wolves because they weren’t as established as Cleveland or Golden State.
After Crawford picked Minnesota, though, the Boston Celtics traded Thomas to the Cavs. Had the trade occurred before or during Crawford’s free agency, Crawford said he’d have come to Cleveland.
Crawford and Thomas are basketball royalty in the Seattle area. Crawford says they have a relationship that goes beyond the court.
“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.”
Though they weren’t able to team up, Crawford and Thomas still spend loads of time together in the offseason.
“We play at his high school all the time,” Thomas said. “We’re always scrimmaging at high schools. We’re always just trying to find a good run, so wherever it may be, if somebody hits us up we’ll be there.”