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NBA Free Agency: Could Jamal Crawford Leave the Clippers for the Knicks?

Could Crawford's next sixth man of the year trophy come for a far-away team?

It's an off-court picture for while Jamal takes care of his off-court business.
It's an off-court picture for while Jamal takes care of his off-court business.
Rich Polk/Getty Images

The New York Knicks always get a lot of attention--they're in a massive media market and Phil Jackson is at the helm.  Their latest trade, which netted them oft-injured former NBA MVP Derrick Rose, only served to draw more attention to the Knicks.  With Rose now on the roster, murmurs have started spreading about which free agents will join him and Carmelo Anthony in Madison Square Garden--Dwight Howard, perhaps, at center... and now, apparently, Jamal Crawford at shooting guard.

Jamal might be a lot of Clippers' fans last choice among the three bird rights players (behind Austin Rivers' youth and Jeff Green's ability to fill the hole at SF), but making an effort at keeping him is just as crucial as trying with the other guys.  The Clippers are really stuck in a bad place this summer, with limited flexibility surrounded by teams with the most flexibility in the history of the NBA.  To have their best shot at building an NBA-caliber bench, they'll need to keep Rivers, Crawford, AND Green.  Even if you don't like Crawford, you still have to admit that they can't afford to lose him with Austin Rivers' departure on the table.

The good news, right now, is that Jamal isn't going anywhere.  He played for the Knicks before and he loved New York, and he made that known in an interview when asked about it (he's never been shy).  But he said all along that he'd do the smart thing for a free agent to do: take all the phone calls, listen to all the offers, and then decide.  He also has said all along that he'd love to come back to the Clippers, and I'd imagine that that hasn't changed, even if he'd also be happy with the Knicks.

It's also no secret that Jamal felt undervalued on his last contract, which was a mid-level exception deal.  It was the best that the Clippers could give him at the time, but he's felt ever since he signed it that a player who produces as much offensively as he does deserves more, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him pursue it this summer.  That said, Crawford is 36, and while he creates offense as well as ever, his efficiency has creeped downward in recent years.  It's difficult to see a team investing too much money in Crawford at this stage, and if that holds true, it could significantly help the Clippers to retain him at an affordable price.