Heading Logo


Crawford agrees to join Timberwolves

A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Jamal Crawford has agreed

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI Associated Press Published: July 9, 2017 4:00 AM
  • 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos

LAS VEGAS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves were in desperate need of a scorer off the bench. Jamal Crawford has made a living doing just that.

Crawford reached agreement with the Timberwolves on a two-year deal Saturday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because he cannot be signed until he clears waivers.

The cap-strapped Wolves only had the room exception left to use for the deal, worth about $4.2 million for the upcoming season. The second year is a player option.

The 37-year-old Crawford averaged 12.3 points in 82 games for the Clippers last season. He was traded to Atlanta to help make room for Danilo Gallinari and reached a buyout agreement with the Hawks.

It continues an aggressive summer for the Timberwolves and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau, who acquired three-time All-Star Jimmy Butler in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, signed free agent point guard Jeff Teague and veteran forward Taj Gibson to remake a roster that won just 31 games last season.

[Article continues below]

The flurry of activity left the Wolves with an imposing starting five, but very little off the bench on the wings behind Butler and Andrew Wiggins.

Crawford has long been one of the league's microwave men -- a player who can come off the bench cold and warm up quickly. He has won the NBA's sixth man of the year award three times, most recently in 2015-16.

His scoring average last season was the lowest since 2002-03 and he is a career 35 percent shooter from 3-point range. So the Wolves still have some holes to fill with a roster that now has 11 players. They have almost no cap room left to sign free agents, so the remaining deals will either have to be for the veteran's minimum or via trades.

WIZARDS KEEPING PORTER

LAS VEGAS -- Just as the Wizards always indicated they would do, they matched the Nets' four-year, $106.5 million maximum restricted free agent offer to Otto Porter Jr nearly two hours before the midnight deadline Saturday night. That means Nets general manager Sean Marks now has thrown up his fourth straight air ball in the restricted free-agent market.

[Article continues below]

One NBA source noted that Marks previously failed to land Tyler Johnson Allen Crabbe and Donatas Motiejunas when their teams matched his RFA offer sheets, and the source described his attempt to pry Porter from the Wizards' control to Newsday as "futile," which is exactly what it turned out to be.

The news first was reported by the Washington Post. According to the NBA source, the Wizards not only planned to match the offer but also to make it contingent on Porter reporting and undergoing a physical exam, and multiple reports indicate they are following that strategy.

Porter has a two-day window to report, and the Wizards then have a two-day window in which to decide whether to withdraw their match, which they will not do. The negative effect on the Nets is to keep $24.77 million of their salary-cap space -- the equivalent of the first-year salary for Porter -- tied up an extra three or four days to make it difficult for them to immediately sign other free agents. Even with that cap hold, however, the Nets had an additional 5.4 million of cap space available.

Faced with the likelihood of the Wizards matching the offer to Porter, the Nets made contingency plans. They reportedly have shown interest in wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, whose contract was renounced by the Pistons on Friday, and in 12-year veteran small forward C.J. Miles of the Pacers, who is an unrestricted free agent and shot 41.3 percent from 3-point range last season.

Another report indicated the Timberwolves are trying to unload the final two years of Cole Aldrich's contract to the Nets, whose demand for the first-round pick the Pacers received from Oklahoma City is an obstacle. The Nets also might be interested in nine-year veteran power forward Ersan Ilyasova, a career 36.6 percent shooter from 3-point range whose contract was renounced by the Hawks.

KNICKS SIGN HARDAWAY JR.

LAS VEGAS -- Tim Hardaway Jr. will be a Knick -- again.

The Hawks will not match the Knicks' four-year, $71 million offer sheet to the restricted-free-agent shooting guard. The Hawks had 48 hours to match the offer with a deadline of 11 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. However, they made a final decision and notification several hours early.

The departure means the Hawks have lost another major contributor from last season -- including three starters from their first-round playoff series loss to the Wizards. Hardaway became a starter late in the season and remained with the unit through the playoffs.

Hardaway spent the past two seasons with the Hawks after he was acquired for a first-round draft pick in 2015. He spent his first two seasons with the Knicks, who drafted him in the first round in 2013.

The offer sheet would pay Hardaway an average yearly salary of $17.75 million. It was structured to begin at $16.5 million and increase to $19 million in the final year with a player option and a 15 percent trade kicker, a bonus of 15 percent of what is owed on the contact, not including the fourth year.

The decision was expected as new general manager Travis Schlenk has indicated on several occasions his desire to maintain salary-cap flexibility. The feeling around the Hawks in the day following the offer sheet was that the team would not match such a significant offer.

The 25-year-old Hardaway blossomed with the Hawks after the trade. He overcame a wrist injury and no playing time when he arrived. By the end of end of last season and the playoffs he was in the starting lineup. Hardaway averaged 14.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists, had a .357 3-point percentage and became an improved defender last season.

The Hawks have only two starters remaining from the unit that began the first-round playoff series loss in April. Paul Millsap agreed to terms with the Nuggets as an unrestricted free agent. Dwight Howard was traded to the Hornets. Now, Hardaway leaves as a restricted free agent. Only Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince remain from the starting unit. Kent Bazemore, Mike Muscala (recently agreeing to return), Malcolm Delaney and DeAndre Bembry are the other players still on the roster from the end of the season.

"Atlanta brought me here, and it really felt like I was starting all over as a rookie when I got here," Hardaway said in April following the playoff series loss. "They made me go through some tough times. They made me mature as a person on and off the court. And made me appreciate the game a whole lot more when I first came in the league. That's what I'm thankful for."

Bazemore is scheduled to make $16.9 million next season in the second of a four-year deal he signed last summer. Bazemore and Hardaway play the same position, and it was hard to imagine the Hawks would invest nearly $34 million combined for both players.

The Hawks did not extend Hardaway's rookie contract by Nov. 1 and set him on the path to be a restricted free agent. Following the season, the Hawks made Hardaway a one-year qualifying offer of $4.6 million to keep him restricted. Hardaway declined to sign the offer and eventually signed the significant offer sheet from the Knicks.


Rate this article

Do you want to leave a comment?   Please Log In or Register to comment.