Crawford narrows his list to two
Free agent guard Jamal Crawford is deciding between the Kings and Trail Blazers after scratching the Knicks off his list on Wednesday, according to a source.
The 11-year veteran tops the list of available perimeter scorers, and his list of possible destinations was shortened on Tuesday. He reportedly turned down a two-year, $10 million deal from the Pacers that would have allowed him to become a free agent after this season. Minnesota was also in the running for Crawford, but he appears to have turned his attention to Portland and Sacramento.
Crawford is expected to sign a one-year deal wherever he goes, with his hope that he would play well enough to take another shot at free agency next summer and land a bigger payday. As it stands, Crawford -- who made $10 million last season with the Hawks -- is likely to accept a significant pay cut.
The Knicks, who saw Crawford as the sort of potent piece who could elevate them to championship-caliber status, could've only offered $2.5 million to the player who had some of his best statistical years with them from 2004-09. With Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony in the midst of their first training camp together and the Knicks landing top free agent center Tyson Chandler, the team had hoped Crawford saw the sense in sacrificing money now for the chance to make it back later after a title run. Without Crawford, the Knicks will likely look to re-sign fifth-year forward Shawne Williams with their remaining funds. A source close to Williams said he is deciding between the Knicks, Nets and an unnamed Western Conference team.
The source close to Crawford said a deal with the Blazers is for $5 million and the Kings' is $6.5 million, with each scenario offering its own questions. The Blazers are dealing with the recent retirement of guard Brandon Roy, and Crawford could have his share of looks while teaming up with fellow wings Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum on a playoff team.
While the Kings have missed the playoffs five straight seasons and aren't expected to break that streak this year, the source said Crawford could wind up starting in Sacramento, even though it just re-signed guard Marcus Thornton to a four-year, $31 million deal. Thornton is one of many ball-dominant guards for the Kings (in addition to Tyreke Evans, rookie Jimmer Fredette and even veteran wingman John Salmons), but they are attempting to build a high-powered offense and covet Crawford for his shooting and veteran presence.