As what started as an exciting offseason slows down, free-agent signings are becoming less frequent. However, there are a few free agents that can help teams get over the hump. These players can join a contending team, and help them reach the next level.
One of the most notable free agents remaining is Jamal Crawford. Crawford is a 19-year veteran with an exceptional ability to score. He was the eighth pick of the 2000 NBA draft, where the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him. Although the Cavaliers drafted him, he started his career with the Chicago Bulls. The Cavs traded him to the Bulls in a draft-day trade. Since then, Crawford has played for several teams.
Throughout the years, Crawford has played for the Knicks, the Warriors, the Hawks, the Blazers and the Clippers. His longest stint with any team was with the Clippers, where he stayed for five years. During that time, Crawford won two of his three Sixth Man of the Year awards. He won the awards in 2014 and 2016. Crawford continued to play with the Clippers until he was traded to and waived by the Hawks for an extremely brief second stint.
Crawford last played for the Pheonix Suns. He played for them last season, after spending a year with the Timberwolves in 2017-18. He played in 64 games and averaged 7.9 points.
Despite a decrease in stats and his second-lowest points average of his career, Crawford can still contribute. There are a few teams in the league that could benefit from his services. Here are three teams that should sign Jamal Crawford.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers had one of the busiest offseasons of the summer as they prep for a championship run. They acquired Anthony Davis in a trade and brought in other pieces as Danny Green and Avery Bradley. They also recently signed Dwight Howard to a non-guaranteed deal. The Lakers are putting themselves in a position to win, but they can use a bit more. This is where Crawford comes in.
If the Lakers sign Crawford, they gain a valuable player off the bench. In a limited role, Crawford can be an offensive spark when the Lakers need it most. Davis, LeBron James (and potentially Kyle Kuzma) will obviously get their points, but if the Lakers need more on offense, Crawford can do just that.
The Lakers can use Crawford. Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas believes that the Lakers should go after Crawford. Arenas told writer Landon Buford that the Lakers need outside shooting. He also said they need another guard.
“They also need your creativity to provide more baskets, and they need another guard. I feel Jamal Crawford in that type of situation would be great for both sides.”
Crawford could be a solid addition to the Lakers, and they need to consider signing him. Or, he may land somewhere else.
Last year, the Sixers were interested in signing Crawford. However, he ended up signing with the Suns.
Sixers guard/forward Ben Simmons reportedly wanted the Sixers to sign Crawford last summer, but nothing happened. This time, it may be a possibility.
Crawford is an experienced veteran that could serve as a mentor to the young Sixers such as Simmons or Joel Embiid. He can also give the Sixers outside shooting and offense, which can only help them.
The Sixers had a reliable outside shooter in JJ Redick but lost him during free agency. He signed a deal with another young team in the New Orleans Pelicans. So, the Sixers could benefit from a player like Crawford.
If Crawford is not concerned with joining a contending team (such as the Lakers, the Rockets, or the Clippers) or a team on the verge of contending, he can go back to where it all started. He can join the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls are a rebuilding team establishing a core through young players such as Coby White or Zach LaVine. This is another opportunity for Crawford to be a mentor and provide offense off the bench.
Last season, the Bulls finished 27th in points per game. While Crawford’s offense won’t drastically improve their points per game average, he can help them at least go up a few spots. So, this could be a win for the Bulls.
If Crawford wants to go to the Bulls (or any rebounding team), he can have a role similar to Vince Carter’s role with the Hawks.
Carter has been with the Hawks for two seasons and will finish his career with them. He’s been a valuable mentor for the team, and their young players use what they’ve learned for years to come. Crawford already had a similar role in his time with the Timberwolves and the Suns and did well with both teams. A stint with the Bulls will allow him to do it once more.
While Crawford remains a free agent, there are a few teams that can use him in 2019-20. Although Crawford is older, he is still a valuable offensive player. If he joins any of these teams, both Crawford and those teams will benefit.
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