The Los Angeles Lakers are planning to go into training camp with an open roster spot, according to general manager Rob Pelinka, but that doesn’t mean the front office isn’t doing their due diligence with free agents.
Marc Spears of ESPN said on “The Jump” that the Lakers have expressed interest in signing three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford, however, no formal offer has been made:
“I just got a text from him, he said nothing yet but that he’s had some interest from the Lakers, had some interest from the Sixers, had some from Golden State.”
This isn’t the first time the Lakers have been linked to Crawford. In fact, just last summer, Crawford and the Lakers reportedly had mutual interest in free agency following the 38-year-old’s buyout from the Atlanta Hawks.
Crawford opted to take more money and a larger role with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he declined his $4.5 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent after averaging the fewest minutes per game he’s played since his rookie season (20.7 MPG). Does Crawford make sense for the Lakers in 2018? In short, no.
Earlier this month, I wrote about the free agents the team should stay away from and Crawford was one of them. Yes, the Lakers need shooting and Crawford is a straight shooter, but the type of shooting he offers isn’t exactly what the team needs.
Crawford is a gifted ball handler, but his dribbling clinics usually end up in heavily contested shots. According to NBA.com, 47.6 percent of Crawford’s shots came when the closest defender was 2-4 feet away. Of those shots, he only converted 39.7 percent of them.
Additionally, 61 percent of his shots were of the pull up variety. Not ideal for a team looking to run a free flowing offense.
The Lakers also don’t have a meaningful role to offer Crawford. After declining his team option, it’s clear that’s still something he covets.
As a 15th man on the bench, perhaps Crawford wouldn’t be such a bad option, however, keeping an open roster spot for a trade or the post trade-deadline buyout market is more valuable to the Lakers, or at least should be. Especially when they already have approximately 900 players who need minutes on the wing.
Maybe Crawford deserves a job in the NBA, but it shouldn’t be with the Lakers.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.