Jamal Crawford Hopeful About NBA Return: 'I've Been Training as If I'm Playing'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 28, 2020

DALLAS, TX - APRIL 9: Jamal Crawford #11 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on April 9, 2019 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Free-agent shooting guard Jamal Crawford hasn't given up hope of playing a 20th NBA season.

The Seattle native, 40, spoke with ESPN's Kenny Mayne on SportsCenter on Friday and said that he's "been training as if I'm playing."

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

"I've been training as if I'm playing. ... Hopefully I'll get another chance to get back out there." —@JCrossover on wanting to return to the NBA https://t.co/9PChn7t9MA

Crawford played 18.9 minutes per game for the Phoenix Suns last season, averaging 7.9 points and 3.6 assists on 39.7 percent shooting.

Although his numbers have taken a dip from previous seasons, he has proved he's capable of lighting it up on any given night, like when he dropped 51 points on 18-of-30 shooting against the Dallas Mavericks last April. That performance followed a 28-point outing four days earlier against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Crawford won't be asked to start or contribute major minutes, but a playoff contender looking for a solid ball-handler and three-point shooter may look his way.

He could play a role similar to the one occupied by 39-year-old Milwaukee Bucks swingman Kyle Korver, who has averaged 16.7 minutes off the bench this year and spends much of his time drilling threes (41.5 percent from beyond the arc). An added bonus would be Crawford's playmaking skills off the dribble.

That's provided the NBA continues play. Right now, the 2019-20 season is suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported March 15 that NBA owners and executives believe the league's best-case scenario is to resume play by mid-to-late June.    

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that he thought mid-May was possible, although perhaps fans would not be present to start, per Mike Leslie of WFAA.

Regardless of when the NBA begins again, Crawford will be ready to join a team if called upon.