In the NBA, possibly more than any other sport, it seems that sometimes the rich continue to get richer and the Golden State Warriors are a prime example.
While the recent news of a possible three-team trade between the Denver Nugget, Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks wouldn’t impact the Warriors much on the surface, it actually may wind up being big for them. First, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explains, free agent Danilo Gallinari is leaning towards re-signing with the Nuggets and would then be a part of a sign-and-trade deal that would send him to the Clippers.
The part that really grabs the Warriors attention is what ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported, which was that the Hawks would land Jamal Crawford, who would then want to be bought out of his contract.
And now the plot begins to thicken. In case you were curious, Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports reported that the deal would net the Hawks a first-round draft pick and essentially would place them in a full rebuild. But, if they did opt to buyout Crawford, which is probably pretty likely, there’s a very good chance that the first place he’d want to look would be the Warriors, especially if he winds up ring chasing, which ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne stated he nearly did last year.
Jamal Crawford’s Fit With the Warriors
During the 2016 offseason, Crawford and the Warriors had “mutual interest” according to Los Angeles Times reporter Brad Turner. And while the Warriors aren’t exactly loaded with cap space at this point after signing Stephen Curry to a supermax deal and re-signing Kevin Durant on Monday, they still have one big thing working in their favor, which is the taxpayer mid-level exception.
That would allow the Warriors to pay Crawford $5.2 million next season. Currently, the 37-year-old shooting guard has two years and $29 million left on his current deal, but the final year isn’t guaranteed, per Spotrac. In turn, there’s a chance that if the Hawks and Crawford agreed to a buyout, that he wouldn’t lose quite as much money as it seems on the surface by signing with the Warriors. That is, of course, unless another team swoops in and offers him a somewhat large contract.
As for Crawford’s exact fit with the Warriors, this could potentially be a match made in heaven. Last season, Bleacher Report’s metrics handed Golden State the No. 6 best bench in the NBA. When you look at their roster currently, they have plenty of overall talent coming off the bench with names like Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Patrick McCaw. What they don’t have? A player who can check into the game and immediately light up the scoreboard.
Crawford would add an incredible punch to the Warriors second unit, and he would certainly benefit from playing with the likes of Curry and Durant as well since it would likely mean plenty of open looks from the outside. While Crawford is 37 currently, he’s played over 26.3 minutes per game in each of the last three seasons and is showing no signs of slowing down.
If Crawford does become a free agent and the Warriors manage to lure him to Golden State, this would make them even more dangerous than they were last season.