Jamal Crawford may be becoming more anxious in his desires for a contract extension from the Atlanta Hawks. Crawford's desires have been documented frequently this offseason but he came to camp and thus far has handled himself professionally while not commenting on the reports that he would demand a trade if an extension could not be worked out.
Still he appears to be growing more anxious if his comments to AJC Hawks Beat Writer Michael Cunningham are any indication.
Crawford talks to Cunningham about his desire to stay with the Hawks:
"You think something is solid and a family you just want that to be what it is," Crawford said today "I would love to be here long term, no doubts about it. I would love to lock that up before I become a free agent. I want to make it work here. But if that is not the plan I guess I will go elsewhere."
Really sounds like desperation is starting to set in. Or perhaps a feeling of disrespect. He is still careful in the fact that he doesn't elaborate on whether he means he will go elsewhere after the season or sooner.
If Crawford does become a free agent at the end of the season, he would be one of the top ones available:
"There is a part of me that is comfortable with that," he said. "But my whole thing is loyalty. I’m a loyal person. And I thought the Hawks were big to step up and give me an opportunity to go further. I thought I played my role to the best of my abilities, and I just want to be here a long time.
"I don’t want to compete [for a contract] and have to go anywhere else but if I am not in the future plans then I guess that is what I will have to do."
True to his word, Crawford has expressed his desire to stay with the team. He has had his most success as a professional in Atlanta and he wants to stay there.
On going to camp and playing basketball while trying to separate the business side:
"That’s the tough part," he said. "I’m just taking it one day at a time, being supportive of my teammates. I have the utmost respect for Coach Drew and his staff, that’s for sure. I try to do as much as possible without my mind wandering too much. [But] at times, you can ‘overthink’ it instead of just going with the flow."
This has to be tough for Crawford. I give him credit for not rocking the boat or making news for himself the way Kenyon Martin is doing in Denver.
Jamal Crawford clearly makes this Hawks team better. So much better that reportedly the Hawks are turning away inquiries for his availability. The problem is he might not make a lot of sense for the Hawks following this season. The Crawford acquisition last season clearly exceeded expectations which was a good thing because the team likely would have had a hard time achieving 53 wins without him.
Still with a max deal committed to Joe Johnson, the drafting of Jordan Crawford, and the likelihood of a large contract offer coming to Al Horford, the Hawks probably won't be willing to spend what it would take to keep Crawford. On the flip side of that you have to feel for the player Crawford in this situation. Clearly with a new CBA on the horizon, it would no doubt be beneficial for Crawford to get a deal done before the season is over.
While the Hawks and GM Rick Sund hold all the cards they are walking a delicate tightrope it would seem. The Hawks don't have to give in to the contract extension or any trade demand. However, should the situation deteriorate to a point where it is a distraction and effects chemistry then they would have to ask themselves whether they should move Crawford elsewhere. Also if the situation gets to that point, the value the Hawks are likely to get in return will go down.
So one week into training camp, we are no closer to a resolution or an answer on this situation.