Jordan Crawford has become a candidate for the Most Improved Player of the Year award in his new role as point guard, and while he’s driving up his value as a restricted free agent this summer, he tells USA Today’s Sean Highkin that he’d like to stay with the Celtics.
“It’s an NBA thing,” Crawford said. “You’re supposed to think about being a free agent. It’s going to happen, so there’s nothing I can do to deny it. I definitely want to be here. But it’s the NBA. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Crawford has transformed from a reckless gunner into a playmaker this season, averaging a career-high 5.4 assists in place of the injured Rajon Rondo. It’s unclear what the Celtics plan to do with him once Rondo returns, but it’s clear that Crawford’s stock has risen since Boston acquired him at the deadline last season for Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins, two players who are out of the league. The Celtics can match any team’s offer for the Creative Artists Agency client in the offseason if they extend him a qualifying offer of about $3.2MM. They could also simply sign him outright, which appears to be Crawford’s preference at this point.
The Hawks made Crawford the 27th overall pick in the 2010 draft and traded him to the Wizards in the middle of his rookie year. He averaged 14.7 points per game in his first full season in Washington, but he did so on just 40% shooting, and he shot 4.3 three-pointers per contest despite making only 28.9% of them. He still shoots threes at about the same rate, but his long-range accuracy has improved to 34.4% for this season.