Jamal Crawford is 38-years-old, has played 18 seasons in the NBA and is still producing numbers and making plays like he is in his mid-twenties. Crawford declined his $4.5 million player option with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 2018-19 season making him a free-agent this summer.
Though Crawford averaged 10.3 points on the second-least minutes of his career (20.7) in 2017-18, the three-time Sixth Man of the Year proved he could still be a valuable role player off the bench.
Crawford is focused on joining a team who can use his prowess as well as one he can help win games—he thought he had that in Minnesota before they were defeated in the first round of the 2018 postseason against Houston, 4-1.
“My No. 1 priority is fit,” Crawford told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic in a phone conversation. “I think that’s very, very important. I’ve seen so many different situations in the NBA and fit is so important.”
Crawford nearly joined LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers last summer, saying that had they made a trade for his friend Isaiah Thomas earlier, he would have joined them, but joined Minnesota instead.
Crawford even pitched in on what the Cavaliers must acquire to make winning easier on LeBron James.
As great is Bron is, just no way he can sustain that every single play.. The role players have to help to even make this competitive.. But truly needs another superstar ( and more) against this juggernaut.
— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) June 4, 2018
Cleveland is one team who can utilize Crawford, as well as a few others. Numerous teams will have their sites on Crawford, but there are three likely organizations to fit his desires. Crawford wants a healthy role with a winning team.
3. Golden State Warriors
Many people do not know this, but Jamal Crawford was traded to the subpar Golden State Warriors from the New York Knicks during the 2008-09 season. Crawford averaged an impressive 19.7 points, 4.4. assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game in 54 games.
Crawford strived in Don Nelson’s run-and-gun offense with his shooting ability and slick handles and was a perfect fit in the offense. Even at 38-years-old, Crawford plays with the same style and could fit into the modern day championship-winning Warriors team of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, and Draymond Green.
Though he would not add a defensive threat to the team’s bench, Crawford, like Nick Young, would be used as instant offense and help alleviate Golden State’s inconsistency of bench production. Crawford would also be another veteran guy in the locker room to guide young players.
Crawford’s career is winding down. Although his scoring production may take a dip alongside five All-Stars, Crawford would be able to help a winning team and would have an immediate chance of winning a title.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Of course, LeBron James will drastically turn Los Angeles into contenders, but they also have to look for other mid-value players to build around him other than newly acquired veterans Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson.
Jamal Crawford can be that guy. Though he is 38-years-old, his style is up there with the young guns—run the floor, shoot three-pointers, and cook defenders with nasty handles. Crawford could have the opportunity to return home to Los Angeles where he played four seasons before arriving in Minnesota and even chase an NBA-record fourth Sixth Man of the Year award.
LeBron James could make another Sixth Man of the Year award possible for Crawford as James could find him ready to fire beyond the arc.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in serious trouble. LeBron James’ departure left Cleveland in the dust, and other than No. 8 overall pick Collin Sexton, they haven’t made any moves in the free-agency pool this season.
After re-signing Kevin Love on a four-year, $120 million contract this week, he is now the face of the franchise in Cleveland—but he needs help. Cleveland showed their inconsistency all 2017-18 season, and it seemed as if everyone on the team relied on James to carry the load, as he did throughout the postseason.
What Cleveland needs are guys who can flat out score the ball and take over a game, hence why Jamal Crawford is No. 1 on this list. JR Smith isn’t what he used to be on the offensive end, Kyle Korver is valuable but one dimensional, and Jordan Clarkson proved he wasn’t ready for the big stage in Cleveland.
Along with signing another established name in free-agency, Cleveland could easily snag Crawford for cheap. The real question is if Crawford wants to try and win his first championship ring this late in his career or be more of a go-to option on a team like Cleveland.
If Cleveland wants to sneak into the playoffs in the weak Eastern Conference they need to make strong free-agency moves, and soon.
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