While we wait to see if there’s any ripple effect on the Hawks’ draft plans with their impending acquisition of guard Jamal Crawford from Golden State, I wanted to dispel rumors of two HUGE stories:
♦ 1. Martians did not land in New Jersey in 1938. It turns out Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast was just a goofy radio bit.
♦ 2. Mike Woodson is not holding up the Crawford trade. It turns out ESPN gets stuff wrong sometimes. Who knew?
The most entertaining thing about the NBA draft is not the draft itself but the rumors leading up to it. So it follows that ESPN’s Andy Katz had a whopper late Wednesday that Woodson didn’t want Crawford, in part because the Hawks’ coach was concerned about Crawford’s opt-out clause in his contract.
Of course, part of the fallout is, you read that and send me emails or post comments, reading: “Why is Woody blocking the deal?!” or “Crawford doesn’t want to come here!” or “Aaaaggh! My hair’s on fire! My hair’s on fire!”
And then I have to respond, “Calm down. No, those are not little green men you see out of your kitchen window. It’s only Andy Katz.”
First of all, Hawks general manager Rick Sund reaffirmed Monday that he would not draft or trade for a player if Woodson wasn’t on board with the move. Why would he? Know how many GMs have made that mistake, only to see their acquisitions sit on the bench?
Secondly, why would Crawford opt out? He’s due to make $19 million over the next two seasons. Do you believe he would get anything remotely close to that on the open market in today’s economy?
Thirdly (is that word?), is there any reason to think Woodson was married to Speedy Claxton or Acie Law?
Far more interesting — and as bonus, ACCURATE! — is some stuff coming out of the Bay Area. Golden State apparently had been trying to dump Crawford’s contract for months, and coach Don Nelson wanted him to exercise an opt-out clause in his contract. He told Crawford: Do it or you’re gone.
Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “Late last season, Nelson told Crawford that he didn’t fit into the Warriors’ plans and the player would be traded if he didn’t opt out.”
Crawford confirmed this to Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times. He said Nelson basically issued an ultimatum: “I didn’t want to talk about the ultimatum [during] the season. But I was shocked. I drove around for two hours after that meeting, just in shock. I basically saw the writing was on the wall, that my future wasn’t with the Warriors. It’s weird. With me first coming, [Nelson] said he wanted me to end my career here and that I was a godsend. Then he was saying he wanted me to be more aggressive and play my game. Then a week later, that happened. I was shocked.”
For what it’s worth, Crawford confirmed he would be crazy to opt out of his contract. He also apparently has an 11-year-old son who lives in Atlanta.
Feel better now?