After somehow winning Sixth-Man of the Year for the third time in his career, Jamal Crawford is weighing his options for next season. Right now, it looks like he’ll either stay with the Los Angeles Clippers, or re-join the New York Knicks.
Crawford, who has played for the Clippers since 2012, also has a four-year tenure on the Knicks from the mid 00’s, although the team wasn’t very successful at the time. He enjoyed better teammates and some playoff time on the Clippers, averaging 16.2 points per game over the last four years. Despite a decline in his ability, the NBA decided he’s good enough to win the 6th man award once again, averaging 14.2 points while shooting 40.4% from the field last season.
Crawford, a 16-year veteran who can play both point guard and shooting guard but defend neither, has said that a contending team isn’t his priority. It’s all about money and situation for him, and it could be playing for a young team on the rise. Minnesota Timberwolves? Orlando Magic? Milwaukee Bucks? Hard to say. Crawford can fit anywhere offensively, but some coaches might refrain from adding him in fear of his defense being too difficult to cover up.
He’s not the only Birds-right player the Clippers need to think about re-signing. Jeff Green is a free agent. Doc Rivers has said he’d like to re-sign both of them, but the Clippers have about $10 million in cap space, and while the salary cap rises, they don’t want to go too overboard and into luxury tax territory. Crawford might be one of the players Rivers actually wants to replace, as it’s clear that there’s something missing on this team, and maybe a chance of concept is necessary.
Crawford made $5.6 million last season, a mid-level exception player. He’s 36, a scorer from head to toe and nothing much else. There’s always room for players like that on NBA teams, but maybe not in the capacity Crawford is looking for, especially on contenders, and not for the money he wants. Maybe that’s why he knows he needs to set his sights lower. There’s mutual interest with the Knicks, but they probably have other positions to fill before turning their attention to Crawford.