Jamal Crawford’s been traded frequently during his NBA career. The dude was traded on his very first day as an NBA player. Four years after that, he was traded from the Bulls to the Knicks, and then from the Knicks to the Warriors, and then from the Warriors to the Hawks. And so with the NBA trade deadline looming on Thursday, it shouldn’t be a new experience for Crawford to hear his name come up a lot in the trade rumor mill. The veteran guard, who can opt out of his two-year contract with the Trail Blazers at the end of this season, has been connected to several potential suitors, namely the Clippers, Timberwolves, Kings, Raptors and Bucks.
Jamal Crawford joined John Canzano on 750 The Game in Portland to discuss how he handles the rumors, how involved he is in discussions, as well as the impending opt-out clause in his contract and the role that is playing in trade chatter. He also took the time to clarify the extenuating circumstances that have caused him to play for so many teams during his career.
On his reaction the trade rumors and if he ignores the chatter:
“I think it’s a combination of everything, honestly. It used to be a time — especially when I first came in the league — that that you could kind of shut out from reading the papers or reading the internet, but now it’s everywhere. It’s on TV, it’s in the papers, fans are shouting it out to you at games, it’s on the Internet, it’s on Twitter. So it’s kind of hard to be oblivious to the whole thing. So you just try to do your best to stay professional and worry about the things you can control.”
On what he can control:
“My play. And when I go out just try to do my best job. Whether that’s me playing the one, playing the two, starting, coming off the bench. Trying to be prepared for every situation because I think at some point down the road that’ll really help me adjust on the fly a little bit. I think that with us, the way we started out the season, we had a lot of momentum, and then for us to kind of play .500 or below-.500 ball since then has been a great challenge. And for us, we have a chance to climb out of that now.”
On his involvement, personally, in potential trade discussions:
“He (his agent) does tell me, like, ‘Hey, your name’s out there a lot.’ The thing I respect about him a lot: he’s every honest. He’s like, ‘Your name’s out there a lot,’ and it has to do with, obviously, the contract. And second, some people saying, ‘Well hey, he’s going to opt out anyway, you might as well get something for him.’ But the thing about the opt-out clause is this: Even if I opted out, it’s just the business part of it. Even if I opted out, that doesn’t mean you wanna leave the place you’re at — it just means on the business side you may be looking for a long-term deal or a new contract. Just as if when I signed with Portland on the business side, all they had was the money they had, and they created a little bit more with Brandon (Roy) retiring, but that was their business side of it. It’s not like, ‘Oh, he wants to leave or this or that.’ It just gives you options at the end of the season and people that ask me about the opt-out, like I said, I kind of take my mind off of it. If I’m thinking about an opt-out already in the middle of the season then I’m doing Portland a disservice. I’m gonna do the best job I can do as long as I’m here, and then I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”
On his hopes for the rest of his career:
“I just want to be somewhere with stability. If you look at all the situations — I see what’s going on and people be like, ‘he’s (been) on so many different teams.’ But if you look at every situation–I was drafted by Chicago, I played there four years. I signed with New York because that was the right business deal at that time, and I stayed there four and a half years, and the only reason they traded me was to free up money for the free-agent class of 2010. They traded myself and Zach Randolph on the same day, and so I went to Golden State and he went to the Clippers. But that was because I was a casualty of war with the whole 2010 free agency. They needed to clear up money, I get it. No hard feelings. So I go to Golden State and then I get traded to Atlanta, where I win sixth man of the year, we go to the playoffs, we average 50 wins, I’m the second leading scorer on the team. And then their situation was all their money was tied up already with Marvin (Williams) and Joe (Johnson) and Al (Horford) and Josh (Smith) and all those guys. So it was nothing personal. And then I came here and now I found myself in trade rumors again. So I guess this is just in my journey. For me I just have to stay professional and try to do the best job I can no matter where I’m at.