Jamal Crawford is officially opting out of his contract with the Portland Trail Blazers. Crawford had signed a two-year contract with the Blazers during the last NBA offseason, but year two of that contract contained a player option. Rather than return to Portland, Crawford will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.
It isn't a huge surprise that Crawford has decided to become a free agent, especially with how badly the Blazers struggled during the second half of the 2011-12 season. He made $5 million during his past season with the Blazers and could easily expect something similar in the open market. I think it is very likely that Crawford will look for a deal that nets him multiple years for a contender.
This isn't terrible news for the Blazers, especially as the team tries to rebuild through the 2012 NBA Draft. I thought Crawford was great off the bench for the Blazers, but he was entirely too inconsistent to count on when it came to crunch time. He finished the season averaging just 14 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting from the field. He also hit on just 30.8 percent of his shots from three-point range; underscoring how much trouble he had putting together back-to-back good games.
Crawford is the type of player that could really help out a contender like the Miami Heat or Los Angeles Lakers, but he would still have to continue to come off the bench. It's definitely possible that he could receive a lot of interest from the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves as well, because those are teams that could really use help at the shooting guard position.
Moving forward, I think that the Blazers will be just fine, even if they will have to use the upcoming draft to find more depth at the guard positions. It also frees up even more salary that can get spent on Nicolas Batum and role players to fill the open roster slots on the bench. It was fun to see Crawford in Portland for a year, but his decision to move on is something that will turn into a positive for both sides.
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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He has high hopes that the Blazers can make it to the Western Conference Playoffs again next year.
- Sports & Recreation
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Jamal Crawford