After his most successful pro season yielded an NBA Sixth Man of the Year trophy and his first-ever playoff appearance, Jamal Crawford quickly went from settled to disgruntled in Atlanta. Over the summer Crawford made it clear that if he didn’t get a contract extension from the Hawks, he’d want to be traded. He didn’t get the extension.
In Detroit, Tayshaun Prince hasn’t said he wants to leave, but coming off a public spat with head coach John Kuester and facing the prospect of wasting his remaining good years on a rebuilding team, it may be time for Prince to get a fresh start.
According to Atlanta-based national basketball writer Sekou Smith, Crawford and Prince are the key components in a trade rumor that’s sprung up recently. The deal would send Crawford and second-year point guard Jeff Teague from Atlanta to the Pistons for Prince and another player, perhaps backup PG Will Bynum. Because Bynum was just signed to a new contract, he can’t be moved until after Dec. 15.
Honestly, I don’t see why the Pistons would make this move. They already have a glut of guards fighting for playing time, so making a two-for-one deal where they bring in Crawford and Teague would only heighten their brewing chemistry issues. Writers covering the Pistons claim one of the team’s problems is a rift between the “old-school” and younger players; Crawford is 30 years old and still looking to get past the second round of the playoffs for the first time, so he won’t be any more happy with a youth movement than Prince would have been. The Pistons would also get worse defensively by losing Prince, the go-to perimeter defensive stopper on a team without many great defenders.
As for the Hawks, it makes a lot of sense. Crawford isn’t going to be happy without that extension, and rookie Jordan Crawford (no relation) showed in the preseason that he could fill in as a volume-scoring guard off the bench. Prince is a vet who can fit into a winning team seamlessly, and Bynum provides a solid backup for Mike Bibby. Teague was seen as the future at PG for the Hawks, but he struggled throughout the preseason and has yet to make his mark.
What do you think? Would this deal work for both sides?