It's Official – Hawks Get Crawford For Claxton, Law

Thursday, June 25, 2009
By Micah Hart
The first domino for what promises to be a busy offseason for the Hawks has fallen, as the team has officially traded Acie Law and Speedy Claxton to Golden State for Jamal Crawford.

My first reaction – I’m a fan. It reminds me a bit of the trade for Bibby in February, 2008, in that you are giving up very little to get a rotation-caliber NBA player. Whatever you may think about Acie, Speedy, and Crawford for that matter, it’s hard for me to oppose any deal where you trade two guys who rarely play for a guy who will definitely play.

Here are a couple more reasons I like it:

- Crawford can score. Much like Flip was a great addition last year because of the scoring punch he brought off the bench, I think Crawford brings the same kind of game. He can fill it up, as evidenced by his two career 50+ point games. He has the reputation as a volume scorer in the same way Flip does, but if the Hawks coaching staff can play to his strengths in the same way they did Murray then he can be a very valuable resource.

A couple interesting nuggets on Crawford by the way, courtesy of 82games.com: He was the 13th leading scorer in crunch-time minutes (defined as 4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points) last season, averaging 36.7 points per 48 minutes. In addition, he was the 7th-best fourth quarter scorer in the league last season, averaging 6.4 points in the final stanza. With as many close games as the Hawks tend to find themselves in, that is certainly good to know.

- It gives the Hawks some flexibility in free agency. Most people’s first question when hearing of this trade is “What does this mean for Mike Bibby?” This is solely my opinion, but I don’t think the addition of Crawford means we won’t be bringing Bibby and/or Flip (for that matter) back. It simply brings additional leverage. With Crawford in the fold, it seems to me the Hawks also have some insurance in case they aren’t able to reach agreement with one or both of those players.

With Crawford around and capable of playing both guard positions, you hopefully can then have a pretty solid guard rotation of guys who are capable of carrying the scoring load on a given night. And, if it ends up that Bibby doesn’t return, you still have a proven NBA guard to plug in instead of having to rely on potential question marks.

Crawford will make around the same money in 2009-10 as Law and Claxton combined. The following year, Crawford becomes at the very least a very attractive expiring contract (in the same way that Speedy is now).

Draft-wise, I don’t think this changes the game too much. I said Tuesday I felt like the team is leaning towards taking best available (whoever that might be), and I still think they’ll do that.

All things considered, I think you have to tip your hat to Rick Sund and company for this one.

More to come as the day unfolds…

UPDATE: Here is the official release on the trade.

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Crawford – here’s the audio interview

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