Jamal Crawford will be a valuable addition to some lucky NBA team next season. The Portland Trail Blazers guard is likely going to have plenty of options, should he hit free agency.
Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD has reported that Crawford will either be dealt by the Blazers in a draft day deal, or he will opt out of his contract, which would make him an unrestricted free agent.
Crawford is a valuable piece because he can competently play either guard position. He has great handles and a solid jumper. He is not a great defender, but he isn't completely overmatched against either spot.
Kennedy also passed along information he gathered from league sources surrounding which teams are expected to pursue Crawford. Included are the Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers.
Honestly, any one of these teams is a solid fit, but there are some that would definitely be better than others. Let's take a look at the best fits for Crawford.
No. 5: Boston Celtics
Depending on how they handle their own free agents, the Celtics could have a lot of holes to fill. Still, this isn't the best fit.
The Celtics need a spot-up shooter like Ray Allen to play alongside Rajon Rondo. Crawford would be decent in this role, but it does not play to his strengths.
No. 4: Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves could definitely use the help at shooting guard. This is a talented, young team and Crawford would be a nice option for them.
However, this situation is a little like the Celtics. By playing with Ricky Rubio, Crawford wouldn't be asked to handle the ball much.
What's more, they could use a shooting guard that excels at penetrating the lane, since Kevin Love spends so much time outside of the paint. That is not Crawford's strength.
No. 3: Indiana Pacers
Crawford's combo skills would be a great fit here. The Pacers could use another great ball handler. Also, it would give them great flexibility.
Paul George is currently the starting shooting guard, but he is better suited for small forward. Crawford would allow the Pacers to unabashedly shop Danny Granger, move George to the small forward spot and have Crawford to fill the hole at the two-guard.
No. 2: Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are loaded at point guard, but they have serious need for some new wing talent. Crawford's perimeter and ball-handling prowess would fit nicely with the attacking frontcourt of the Clippers.
No. 1: Miami Heat
Crawford would be an excellent sixth man on the Heat. He would erase any dependence the Heat have on Mike Miller's health, and he would give them another option to run the point if Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole are struggling or hurt.
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