After all the hoopla this morning, I finally got confirmation. It is official, according to Al Harrington. The Warriors have completed the trade him to the New York Knicks for Jamal Crawford.
Harrington is making $9.23M this season and has a player option for next season, which if he picks it up will pay him $10.03M. The initial reports had the Warriors taking back Malik Rose, who has one year left for more than $7 million, which would have also fit.
Before I ask you what you think of this move, here is what I’m thinking:
* The Warriors get a veteran guard who can play both guard positions. He’s 6-5, 200 pounds and has become a reliable scorer. He’s averaging 19.6 so far this season after averaging 20.6 last season. He’s feeling it from three so far this year, currently at 45.5 percent, but for his career he’s around 32-35 percent. He also has a reputation for being clutch.
He can dribble well, he can shoot (though he’s streaky) and he can create. He’s experienced. You can trust him to inbound the ball (I hope). Not sure about his defense, but he did play for the Knicks, so chances are he hasn’t played much.
*The Warriors get to put the Harrington situation behind them. That relationship was a wrap and it was only going to become more of a distraction. Nellie can’t stop bringing up how Al ruined it by going public. It was best for both parties to get this chapter over.
* Crawford is the perfect guy to play next to Monta Ellis, when he returns. Crawford can play both positions, so Ellis can be the point guard and still take advantage of Crawford’s skills.
If the Warriors decide the Ellis-at-point experiment is not working, they can play Crawford at the point and let Ellis be simply a scorer. Plus Crawford has the size and athleticism that allows Nellie to play point but defend shooting guards, which allows Ellis to play shooting guard and defend point guards.
If the Warriors were going to go out and get a point guard, this is the type of player they needed. He’s probably too good in that he’ll make Monta’s growing pains harder to swallow (knowing there is a capable option). We all know about Nellie’s impatience with mistakes. Having Crawford as the ready Plan B might make him pull the plug on Ellis-at-point much quicker than if CJ is the Plan B.
But he now has the option to be move Monta off the point without losing that much production.
* Crawford is making $8.64 million this season. He has an Early Termination Option that would allow him to walk away from his contract after this season. If he declines to use that ETO, the Warriors would be on the hook for 2009-10 ($9.36M) and 2010-11 ($10.08M).
If Crawford opts out after this season, the Warriors get the bonus of shedding future salary along with moving their disgruntled forward. But if Crawford decides not to opt out, the Warriors are adding $10 million in future salary. For a team that has sought to avoid the luxury tax, that is an interesting risk to take considering the recent contract extension of Stephen Jackson and the previous big contracts giving to Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and Corey Maggette. The Warriors could have four players making double-digit salaries in 2010-11, with Jackson just shy of $10M.
* Don’t the Warriors have enough guards? Adding one more to the mix is going to make for some interesting minutes-juggling by Nellie. Assuming Crawford doesn’t come here and ride the bench, is he going to play point guard? If he does, that means Stephen Jackson is back at shooting guard. Where does that leave Anthony Morrow?
OK, maybe Jax goes to small forward so Morrow can get a bunch of minutes at shooting guard. He has to be on the court, right? So then where does that leave Azubuike? Corey Maggette? How is everyone going to handles getting 25-30 minutes yanked from the guard pot by Crawford?
Either the Warriors have another move in the works or there is going to be some serious adjusting on the perimeter. I haven’t even mentioned C.J. Watson, and the former starting point guard who is now in Bakersfield.
* Crawford is a gunner. In five of his eight seasons, he finished with more three-point attempts than assists (not counting the one season he had eight fewer three-point attempts than assists). This season, he ahs taken 77 3s and has 44 assists.
Do the Warriors need another player to jack up shots relentlessly. Jackson, Azubuike, Maggette and now Crawford. The Warriors better order a new shipment of Spaldings. Will there be any shots left for the team’s best shooter, Anthony Morrow?
OK, so what do you think?