It’s quite clear that Jamal Crawford much prefers an extension from Atlanta to the idea of becoming a free agent next summer. For a variety of reasons, the Hawks are (wisely) reluctant oblige. That hasn’t stopped Crawford from grandstanding to Hawks management at every opportunity, most recently with this enthusiastic play to the Associated Press:
Crawford will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. He had a quick answer when asked what he’s looking for.
“What do I want? I want to be here,” Crawford said at the start of the Hawks’ training camp.
love being here. I LOVE being here. I had a ball every time. I felt
like I was at a concert performing every time I played here. It was
just a lot of fun.”
Most NBA players know what they want, but rarely are they quite so forthcoming. There’s no posturing at this point. Crawford simply wants to be a Hawk for the long haul, and he’s shouting it from the rooftops.
I’m sure Crawford’s long-term financial security is a factor in his preference, but his enthusiasm makes me think that his experience with the Hawks last season really is his primary motivation. Crawford was given free reign to operate as he pleased last season, and while many potential free agents are looking to lock-in to a contract under the new CBA, Crawford may simply be looking to sign a long-term deal in a comfortable setting.
For a guy who has spent most of his career getting the scoring opportunities he wanted on teams playing for lottery odds, the success of the Hawks — middling though it may be in the grand scheme of things — must be intoxicating. Crawford just wants to ride that wave a bit longer, even as the Hawks are threatening to cut him off.