Following the three-team deal between the Clippers, Nuggets and Hawks that sent Paul Millsap to Denver and Danilo Gallinari to Los Angeles, former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford was packaged with Diamon Stone and a first round pick and sent to Atlanta.
Via Marc J. Spears, Crawford has no desire to return to Atlanta, his team between 2009 and 2011, and will most likely be bought out by the Hawks so he can become a free agent and test the market for himself.
Now 37 years of age, J-Crossover doesn’t have many more seasons left in the tank, even if his level of play hasn’t dropped off much as he has aged, and Crawford will be looking to sign with a contender or a team where he can mentor their young talent before he retires.
With that in mind, here are four destinations Jamal Crawford could land at this free agency period.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
As with any championship contender, veterans chasing a ring on minimum contracts are what make up a bulk of the bench, as they can come in and contribute when needed and are willing to take a pay cut if it means a shot at a ring, and bench veterans don’t come much better than Jamal Crawford.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in such a position. With a lot of Eastern Conference talent making their way West, and LeBron James on the roster, the Cavs are almost a lock to make another Finals appearance and compete for another title to add to their collection.
With a bench already consisting of Kyle Korver, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and James Jones, their veteran presence would only be bolstered with the addition of perennial 6MOTY candidate Crawford. Oh, he could also teach Kyrie Irving a thing or two about dribbling, not that he needs it though.
3. San Antonio Spurs
Another team that seems to contend for championships season in and season out, the San Antonio Spurs could be another great landing spot for Crawford.
With Manu Ginobili on the verge of retirement, Jamal could slot in perfectly to replace the Argentinian, adding his own flair to the Spurs’ offense, much like Manu did and still does.
Even though Crawford is a fairly inefficient shooter from deep, shooting at a 35% clip for his career, I have no doubt that the Spurs’ patented offense would help set up Crawford for open looks all season long, turning him into one of the premier outside threats in the NBA.
2. Golden State Warriors
Let’s be completely honest here, do the Warriors even need Crawford? Judging by their performance last season in the playoffs, going 16-1, it doesn’t seem so.
Then again, if you’re not looking to improve your roster every season to keep up a high level of play and continue competing for championships, other teams are only closing the gap on you.
Crawford actually played for the Warriors back in the 2008-09 season, playing 54 games for the franchise and posting averages of 19.7 points and 4.4 assists a game.
It’s fair to say Jamal isn’t that sort of player anymore, and the Warriors are polar opposite to the Warriors of 2008, but J-Crossover could still bring some bench scoring alongside Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Coming in as the top destination for Jamal Crawford this offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers are apparently Jamal’s preferred destination if he gets bought out by the Hawks.
The feeling is mutual as well.
Per Marc J. Spears.
“Crawford’s preference would be to join rookie Lonzo Ball with the Los Angeles Lakers, a source told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. Crawford has no interest in playing with the Hawks and he prefers to be waived to become a free agent. The Lakers have strong interest in signing Crawford as well, a source told Spears, and have the money to do so.”
As you can see, Crawford has a strong preference to stay in LA, somewhere where he has spent the last 5 years of his career, which is understandable.
By joining Los Angeles, Crawford would most likely fill the role left by another 6MOTY candidate, Lou Williams, who was traded midseason last year to the Houston Rockets. J-Crossover would serve as a mentor to the young Lakers, especially rookie Lonzo Ball, and who knows? Crawford could gun for his 4th Sixth Man of the Year award, which would be an NBA record.