OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — The Golden State Warriors have been searching for a suitable backup to point guard Stephen Curry since veteran Jarrett Jack signed with Cleveland as a free agent last summer.
They had hoped Toney Douglas could help fill the void, but he couldn’t.
Now they’re counting on Jordan Crawford for more production.
The Warriors acquired Crawford and reserve MarShon Brooks from the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, sending Douglas to the Miami Heat in a three-team trade.
“I think getting a guy like Crawford allows us to rest Steph a little bit more without the fear of blowing ballgames,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said before his team hosted Denver.
The Heat sent seldom-used center Joel Anthony, two draft picks and cash considerations to the Celtics in a move that creates financial flexibility for the two-time defending NBA champions and bolsters Boston’s rebuilding project.
Miami gave the Celtics its 2015 protected first-round pick — originally acquired from Philadelphia — and 2016 second-round pick. If the 76ers don’t make the playoffs the next two seasons, the 2015 pick will be a second-round selection.
“The picks keep piling up and piling up. We’ve got a lot of flexibility moving forward,” first-year Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before Boston beat Toronto 88-83.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Celtics GM Danny Ainge, a long-time friend who helped him get the job with Golden State, approached him about the trade. But it wouldn’t have come together without the Heat, Myers said, because the Warriors weren’t willing to part with any of their core players.
“We were obviously looking to upgrade our bench,” Myers said. “Clearly, we’ve struggled in that category.”
The deal gives Golden State more scoring punch behind Curry after the defensive-minded Douglas had struggled to provide much support.
Crawford is averaging 13.7 points and 5.6 assists this season, but he became expendable with Boston expecting All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to return soon from a right knee injury that has kept him out since last January. Crawford, who will be playing for his fourth team in four seasons, also is shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from 3-point range.
“He’s dangerous. That’s the word I like to use,” Myers said.
Brooks had two up-and-down years with the Nets before splitting time with Boston and the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League this season. He’s averaging 3.1 points in 10 games with the Celtics.
Jackson said Brooks would have an opportunity to earn a spot with Golden State, though he’ll most likely spit time with the team’s D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz.
After inking free agent Andre Iguodala, the Warriors had hoped Douglas could serve as the primary ball-handler behind Curry the way Jack did brilliantly last season.
But Douglas missed a month because of a stress reaction in his left shin and couldn’t find a rhythm when he returned. He averaged 3.7 points, 0.8 assists and 11 minutes in 24 games.
“We need (Crawford) to hold the fort down, to be a playmaker. We need him to score. We need him to facilitate and get that second unit going,” Jackson said. “The opportunity is going to be there, but we do not need him to be Jarrett Jack.”
For the Heat, the gains are largely financial.
Anthony was making $3.8 million this season — more than double what Douglas is earning — and is on the books for another $3.8 million next season. The deal should save the Heat more than $10 million in salary and luxury tax payments over the next two seasons, and that may help when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can all decide to become free agents this summer.
Heat President Pat Riley said the trade gives the franchise “great flexibility moving forward in our journey to win an NBA championship.” He also fondly called Anthony the center of one of his “favorite teams” — the 15-win 2007-08 Heat squad from Riley’s last season as coach.
“This is very, very, very, very, very, very hard to do this,” Riley said before Miami lost 114-97 at Washington. “He was part of the family. He helped us win two championships. … This really is about flexibility more than it is about anything else.”
And because point guard Mario Chalmers is currently dealing with an Achilles problem, Douglas also could provide some insurance for Miami as well. Another option is that the Heat can choose to simply absorb what’s left on Douglas’ $1.6 million contract this season to open a roster spot, one they could possibly target free agent center Andrew Bynum with.
The Heat also got more help when center Greg Oden played for the first time in more than four years Wednesday night. He finished with six points and two rebounds in eight minutes.
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