Jamal Crawford is heading to the twilight of his NBA career. He is now an unrestricted free agent but rumors are swirling that Crawford expressed willingness to return to the New York Knicks.
Crawford, 36, played for the Knicks from 2004 to 2008. He was originally selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the 8th overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. He was then traded by the Cavaliers to the Chicago Bulls during the draft night. After playing four seasons with the Bulls, Crawford was then traded to the Knicks in 2004. He also played for the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, and Portland Trailblazers before ending with the Clippers in 2012.
Since he is an unrestricted free agent, he could be able to start listening to offers from other teams and the Los Angeles Clippers have no choice but to lose him if he ever decides to sign with the Knicks or with other teams come July 1.
For the Knicks, they have acquired Derrick Rose and Phil Jackson hinted that they are also on a look out for a possible shooting guard to be added to their roster for next season. Crawford has been averaging 14.2 points, 2.3 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game this season for the Clippers and when he signs with the Knicks, he could be an effective player coming off the bench. Frank Isola noted that Crawford has expressed interest in a return campaign with the Knicks.
“I’m not talking about any one team but everyone knows how I feel about New York. I really enjoyed my time there,” Crawford said.
The Knicks will have its front court built on the team of Rose, Carmelo Anthony, and Kristap Porzingis. Having Crawford on their roster could bring stability to the second unit as he has been noted as the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year awardee.
The Clippers, which owns the Bird Rights for Crawford, has also expressed desire to re-sign him. In essence, the Larry Bird exception allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents, at an amount up to the maximum salary. To qualify as a Bird free agent, a player must have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent.
Both the Clippers and the Knicks have until June 30 to make ready their presentation to lure Crawford to their respective teams as the free agency season opens on July 1.
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