ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28: Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after their 84-81 win over the Orlando Magic during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jamal Crawford had a bad contract year, but could still be a good fit for a contending club.
Former Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Jamal Crawford is, at 31 years old, looking for another big payday. His last contract was signed in 2004 for $55 million over seven years in a sign-and-trade from the Chicago Bulls, who drafted him in 2000, to the New York Knicks. He was then traded to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington in 2008, and from the Warriors to the Hawks in 2009 for Acie Law and Speedy Claxton.
He won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award in his first season with Atlanta while he averaged 18 points per game, shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from the three-point line, both his highest percentages since the 2001-02 season. Last season was a major regression from that (he averaged just 14.2 points per game in about the same amount of minutes), which bodes very poorly not only for the future, but for his chances in free agency.
Here's what SB Nation's NBA guru Tom Ziller had to say about Crawford's free agent prospects (he has Crawford ranked as the 17th-best free agent in this year's crop):
Jam's role in Atlanta is the role he'll be limited to anywhere: bench scorer who shoots a lot. But he needs to be more efficient in that role to justify a salary much higher than $4-5 million a season. I imagine he's expecting more than that on the market. Also keep an eye on how widely used the amnesty clause is; if players like Brandon Roy and Rashard Lewis end up on the market, they'll soak up some of Jam's love.
According to Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick, among the teams with interest in Crawford are the Hawks, Pacers, Nets, Timberwolves, Suns, Bulls and Magic. Of those teams, the Bulls and Nets seem to make the most sense as needing a volume scorer to pair along with a dynamic point guard.
For news on Crawford's former team, visit Hawks blog Peachtree Hoops.