Atlanta Hawks

2011 NBA Free Agents: 5 Teams Jamal Crawford Could Make Better Next Season

Eric CaspersonCorrespondent IIMay 22, 2011

2011 NBA Free Agents: 5 Teams Jamal Crawford Could Make Better Next Season

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 12:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks drives the basket against Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Jamal Crawford is an unrestricted free agent heading into the 2011 summer offseason. His $10-plus million will be coming off the books in Atlanta, but will the Hawks regret letting him go?

    Atlanta may not be able to afford the former NBA Sixth Man Award winner from a year ago. After putting up two great seasons in the ATL, Crawford should be due for a little pay raise.

    Crawford has shown that he can be a scorer or more of a role player on any given team. He is OK with coming off the bench, like he has done recently for the Hawks.

    He may be one of the more enticing combo guards on the market this summer. Teams with the money will be competing for his services.

    Here are five teams that Crawford could immediately make better heading into the 2011-2012 season.

Phoenix Suns

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 12:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Omer Asik #3 and Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Geor
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Jamal Crawford has pretty much stayed in the Eastern Conference his entire career. With his up-tempo game, I think he can be a guy that flourishes in the West.

    The Phoenix Suns are in need of a PG/SG because all signs lead to Steve Nash leaving, either after this season or via a trade.

    Crawford is no Nash, but he does bring a style of basketball that Phoenix fans will love. He is an unbelievable scorer who could be one of the better combo guards out West.

New York Knicks

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    BOSTON - NOVEMBER 18:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the New York Knicks passes the ball as Ray Allen #20 of the Boston Celtics defends on November 18,  2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Jamal Crawford was not on the best of Knicks teams, but he sure would be a welcome addition to their current squad.

    Roger Mason and Anthony Carter are free agents this summer and New York could put that money toward a guy like Crawford.

    Chauncey Billups is aging so Crawford can be a little insurance as well as providing some much-needed scoring of the bench. You will have to score 120 points to beat the Knicks each night.

Orlando Magic

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    ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 26:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots over Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Crawford has been loved in Atlanta, but how's this for sticking it right in the Hawks' face? The Magic are a mess right now. They have quite possibly the most dominant player in the league, but they cannot advance in the playoffs.

    Jason Richardson is a free agent so if he leaves Jamal Crawford can immediately jump in as a starter and provide some high-octane offense at a pace of around 16 points per night.

    In his last season as a starter, Crawford averaged 19.7 points per game.

    With Crawford, Howard and Nelson, now you are talking.

Denver Nuggets

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    CHICAGO, IL - MAY 10: Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks drives past Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on May 10, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Arron Afflalo are all free agents this summer. While I believe Chandler and Afflalo will be back, anything can happen with Smith, who is unrestricted.

    If one of them leaves, Denver should look into signing Jamal Crawford if it has the funds. Crawford is a lot like J.R. Smith in that he is a streaky scorer, who can start or come off the bench.

    Denver already has taken a step forward after the Carmelo trade and this would be another step forward in the right direction.

Atlanta Hawks

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 12:  Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls defends a dunk by Jamal Crawford #11 of the Atlanta Hawks in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Phillips Arena on May 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    If Atlanta does not re-sign Jamal Crawford, the Hawks immediately become a worse team. He was one of their top scorers and he came off the bench doing so.

    The Hawks are at a standstill. They need to get one more guy in order to jump the power teams in the East like Chicago, Boston and Miami. If they lose Crawford, they will need at least two then.

    Losing Crawford basically means that Atlanta ownership is giving up on their current team.

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