The Los Angeles Lakers have yet to make a move in free agency, patiently waiting for the right opportunity with the right player to line up. Enter Jamal Crawford, who would like to play with Lonzo Ball in the Lakers’ backcourt, according to Marc Spears of ESPN.
Crawford already has a “solid relationship” with Ball, according to Spears, and also has his family based in Los Angeles. The Atlanta Hawks, LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets are working on a three-team deal that could potentially result in Crawford being traded to Atlanta and bought out for the remainder of his contract.
The veteran guard has two years and approximately $17 million in guaranteed salary left to negotiate with the Hawks. The 37-year-old guard averaged 12.3 points per game while shooting 36 percent from deep. He’s not the three-point marksman, or defender, the Lakers’ front office has been clear it’s interested in. The team is weak at shooting guard, though, and the front office is playing free agency slow.
It’s unclear how the Lakers’ discussion with Dion Waiters concluded, and George Hill signed a three-year deal with the Sacramento Kings early Tuesday. One of the biggest dominoes left in free agency is Gordon Hayward, with a leak indicating he was joining the Boston Celtics being refuted while his camp keeps the NBA on hold. That could lead to a Waiters decision, and the next set of signings to move forward.
Crawford is mostly a poor fit for the Lakers, and it’s unclear what kind of contract Crawford would be looking for as a free agent. It seems, based on Spears’ report, that being in Los Angeles and playing with Ball are high on his priority list. Paying an aged career 35 percent three-point shooter shouldn’t be high on the Lakers’ priority list.
Crawford hasn’t even been officially traded to Atlanta yet, so there’s still steps to be had before this all plays out. It is a story worth keeping an eye on as it happens, though, as most are until free agency wraps up.