Jamal Crawford thought his NBA career might be over. After all, the veteran guard last played in the 2018-19 season and didn't catch on with a team this year before the season shut down in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, the 40-year-old Crawford told reporters that signing with the Nets was surreal:
"It didn't feel real in some sense. I was going to sleep that night, and I woke up like, 'Did this really happen, or was I dreaming? Did the Nets really call and I really signed a contract with them or agreed to a contract?' And it was real.
"I thank God. I thank all the people that supported me, and it's a blessing, it really is, because I've been on the outside for a year, and once it gets to a certain point, you're not sure that call's going to happen, and you kind of have to face that reality as well."
Crawford averaged 7.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 64 games off the bench for the Phoenix Suns last year. He shot 39.7 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from three. Although those weren't gaudy numbers, he put up 51 points in his final regular-season game, sending a message that he could still ball.
While he didn't latch on with a team prior to the hiatus this season, he continued to work out and keep in shape in case an opportunity did arise.
"When you're in love with it, you're willing to do anything it takes," he said.
Eventually, Brooklyn called.
The Nets head into the restart as the current No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and will be battling for a postseason berth. They'll be doing so without the injured Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and a trio of players who tested positive for the coronavirus—Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince— and opted against playing.
To replace those players, the Nets signed Crawford, Michael Beasley—who has since left the Orlando bubble after testing positive for COVID-19—Tyler Johnson, Lance Thomas and Donta Hall. So, Crawford will get another chance to make a playoff run, albeit with a Nets team missing a number of key players.