While most of the NBA world is awaiting Gordon Hayward’s impending free agency announcement, the Hawks, Clippers, and Nuggets began work on an elaborate three-team trade involving two sign-and-trades that would get Paul Millsap to Denver, Danilo Gallinari to Los Angeles, and a draft pick and contract filler to Atlanta.
The biggest part of that contract filler comes in the form of Jamal Crawford, a former Hawk and former Sixth Man of the Year award winner. While Crawford spent time in Atlanta previously, he’s not expected to stay there very long this time around should the deal get done, as the veteran shooting guard will pursue a buyout or another trade to land on a contender. There are hiccups in that plan, as the Hawks will not want to pay him his full salary remaining in order to dump him, but the two sides are expected to figure something out.
Should the deal go down and a buyout get reached between Crawford and the Hawks, he will immediately become one of the top veteran scorers on the market and would be expected to look to sign with a contender. For anyone going in search of a ring, the list of teams one wants to sign with starts with the Warriors, and it sounds like there’s interest from both sides, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Marc Spears.
Sources informed ESPN that Crawford would seek an immediate buyout and the Warriors would be the front-runners for his services if they still possessed the taxpayer midlevel exception of $5.2 million.
The problem for Crawford and the Warriors is that the Hawks aren’t too keen on a buyout, even if he’s willing to make concessions on what he’s paid out. According to Haynes and Spears, Atlanta will look to trade Crawford and the Warriors will have plenty of competition for his services from other top contenders and some teams looking to improve their standing in playoff races.
The Hawks, sources say, would prefer to trade Crawford to receive some form of compensation in return. The Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks, have suddenly become interested in acquiring him, league sources say.
Crawford’s ability to score in bunches off of the bench is certainly something that is attractive to any contender, and especially so for those trying to keep up with the Warriors in an ever-escalating offensive arms race. The Hawks, now firmly in rebuilding mode based off of this proposed move, would much rather acquire some more assets for Crawford rather than simply buy him out, but it’s clear that he won’t be on the Hawks’ roster come this fall.