Jamal Crawford has announced that he’s pretty much open to considering any team that wants him. Should the San Antonio Spurs get in line?
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders has an interesting quote from Crawford that implies that market doesn’t matter to him, and that he’s open to taking his services anywhere from New York to Milwaukee.
That’s admirable of him in some regards, but also reflective of a changing media landscape. Market size isn’t as crucial as it was in a time before the digital age we now inhabit. With the internet, any player can expand his brand no matter the location.
Crawford may have reached this epiphany more out of practicality than kindness to cities without the glitz of Los Angeles or New York.
Having said that, the next step is figuring out what his value is to a team at this stage of his career. I’ve written in the past about the fascinating player that Crawford is.
I likened his philosophy on the court to taking to heart a facetious coach who once told a young Crawford that the key to winning a basketball game is scoring more points than the other team. Crawford then sought to base his basketball identity around fulfilling that task. Few players can score at the rate that Crawford can. The downside is that it’s really all he can do.
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He’s a terrific outside shooter, and has the quickness to explode to the rim and acrobatically finish with the best of them. He’s best suited as a bench player programmed to provide offensive spark to his team in a hurry.
He won his 3rd career Sixth Man of the Year Award this past season, becoming the first player to ever win it 3 times. He’s very well suited in that role of scoring points off the bench.
He’s absurdly streaky. It’s not unusual for him to hit 7 or 8 shots in a row in one game, but then go 1-9 the next game. You live with the zenith of his fantastic scoring, but also have to cope with his cold streaks that can quickly stall an offense.
If he isn’t hitting his shots, he’s not worth having on the floor. He doesn’t play defense, and doesn’t have the facilitation skills to make teammates around him better. He’s one of the best in the league as an instant-offense threat, but his one-dimensionality boxes him into the role of a glorified niche player.
Crawford is going to turn 37 next season. Although he’s coming off a season where he averaged 14.2 points off the bench, it’s hard to imagine that he can continue that production much longer. He’s nearing the end of his career.
He made about $5.45 million last season from the Clippers, and he’ll likely seek something in that ballpark again. Should the Spurs consider bringing him in?
He’s an intriguing talent, but they don’t exactly have unlimited resources to throw around. They’re likely going to have enough cap room to acquire one marquee free agent for big money. Guys worthy of that type of cash are players like Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside, and Al Horford.
Crawford can be considered down the road if those top priorities don’t get acquired. It doesn’t sound out of the realm of possibility that the Spurs could have the money to bring in a duo of either Joakim Noah or Rajon Rondo along with Crawford.
Noah and Crawford or Rondo and Crawford isn’t as ideal as Durant, Whiteside, or Horford based on talent and team needs, but it can be a way to improve the depth of the Spurs.
Where a potential Crawford signing becomes harder to justify is based on his age. The Spurs clearly need to get more youthful after they were run out of the gym by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs, and Crawford is in his late 30s. Nothing more than a 1 year deal from San Antonio could be seen as a wise investment, but it’s unclear if Crawford would go for that.
He has never won a championship, and perhaps he would turn down a multi-year deal with another team to chase a ring in San Antonio. It’s unclear what he desires most at this point in his career.
The Spurs should consider Crawford as a viable option only on a 1 year deal, and if it becomes clear that they won’t be able to acquire a star like Durant, Whiteside, or Horford.