Jamal Crawford isn’t happy about his contract situation. It’s been obvious to those around him at Hawks camp that his demeanor isn’t the same. He’s being a professional but the enthusiasm is lacking.
So far, Crawford has stopped short of publicly expressing his displeasure with the Hawks for not offering a contract extension. In that way he’s taking a different tact than Kenyon Martin in Denver and Aaron Brooks in Houston.
But Crawford’s stance might be shifting a bit. At media day Monday he was careful to avoid talking about the possibility of leaving the Hawks. Now, with GM Rick Sund still not offering an extension and also resisting trade inquiries, Crawford sounds more urgent about the issue.
“You think something is solid and a family you just want that to be what it is,” Crawford said today “I would love to be here long term, no doubts about it. I would love to lock that up before I become a free agent. I want to make it work here. But if that is not the plan I guess I will go elsewhere.”
Crawford will make $10.1 million this year. He is seeking a new deal after winning the NBA’s Sixth Man Award while helping the Hawks to 53 victories and the No. 3 playoffs seed in the East. The uncertainty with the expiring collective bargaining agreement also is a major factor in his desire for an extension.
Sund has declined comment on Crawford’s situation, citing his policy of not discussing players’ contracts. He typically hasn’t offered extensions on veteran contracts. The exceptions have been cases in which the player could expect a maximum contract in free agency like Joe Johnson.
If Crawford were to become a free agent next summer, he would be among the top players available.
“There is a part of me that is comfortable with that,” he said. “But my whole thing is loyalty. I’m a loyal person. And I thought the Hawks were big to step up and give me an opportunity to go further. I thought I played my role to the best of my abilities, and I just want to be here a long time.
“I don’t want to compete [for a contract] and have to go anywhere else but if I am not in the future plans then I guess that is what I will have to do.”
In the meantime, Crawford is doing what’s asked of him at camp. His back tightened up during practice Thursday and Hawks coaches offered to let him sit out sprints at the end of the session but Crawford finished.
He said he’s trying to separate the business from the basketball
“That’s the tough part,” he said. “I’m just taking it one day at a time, being supportive of my teammates. I have the utmost respect for Coach Drew and his staff, that’s for sure. I try to do as much as possible without my mind wandering too much. [But] at times, you can ‘overthink’ it instead of just going with the flow.”