The long, drawn-out courtship of Jamal Crawford appears to be over. Sources are reporting the former Sixth Man of the Year will sign a deal with Portland, deciding to go with the playoff team closest to his hometown after spurning Sacramento and New York. The Blazers have been hot on the offensive dynamo’s trail ever since this summer when LaMarcus Aldridge voiced his love for Crawford and began recruiting the two guard away from Atlanta. That continued throughout the free agency period, until it came down to two teams last night: Portland and Sacramento.
Sam Amick of SI.com tweeted a few minutes ago: Jamal Crawford has chosen Portland, according to two sources. Amick is keyed in on everything in Sacramento so his word is bond when it comes to that. David Aldridge has confirmed the report as well. We wrote in Smack last night that we hoped Crawford would go to the Kings just because we wanted to see that team of Kyle Lee Watsons fight over the ball.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com is reporting the deal is a two-year agreement for $10 million with the second season being a player option. Sounds right on the money; Crawford has reportedly only been interested in short-term deals. He wants to test the market again next summer. As of now, Amick is reporting it’s for only one year at $5 million. Either way, it sounds like the Blazers – who were trying to trade Gerald Wallace earlier this week to free up room – need to amnesty Brandon Roy before the deadline tomorrow to have enough room under the cap for this.
Crawford becomes the fourth very good wing player in Portland’s lineup. If they do show Roy the door, that still leaves Wesley Matthews and Wallace as the starters at the two and three, with Crawford and Nicolas Batum behind them. With all four of these guys needing minutes, I think we can safely assume a few of them (probably starting with Wallace) will come up in trade rumors at some point this season. Along with a solid (but not very deep) frontline revolving around Aldridge, and a point guard who should gel (even though he plays better in an uptempo system) in Raymond Felton, I really like this team.
Of course, I’d like it more if Nate McMillan relaxed and agreed to speed it up considering Portland has been the slowest-paced team in each of the last two seasons. Reports are saying he has. He’s also letting the guys bump Big and ‘Pac during warm-ups. I guess that’s a good sign.
Crawford is one of my favorite players in the league, but he’s not exactly someone I’d like on my squad if I’m trying to win a title. Either way, his shot-making should be a welcome addition for a team that miraculously, even with all of those swingmen, is really lacking in perimeter offensive creators.
Is this the right choice? How will he fit in with Portland?
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