A new, enlightening report from Michael Cunningham at the Atlanta Journal Constitution has all but ruled out the Knicks as a destination for Jamal Crawford. In order for New York to get the guard, they would either need Crawford to sign for the “mini mid-level exception” of $2.5 million (a figure likely too low for him to accept) or have the Hawks facilitate a sign-and-trade deal.
But due to league trade rules involving teams over the salary cap (which both New York and Atlanta are), that second option could only happen if the Hawks were willing to take back a player who earns around as much as Crawford signs for.
And they are unwilling to do that.
GM Rick Sund said the Hawks still “have never been a taxpaying team and our goal is not to pay the tax,” an approach that essentially means the team is out of the running to re-sign Jamal Crawford or use the free-agent guard in a sign-and-trade transaction.
“It’s going to be difficult to sign Jamal in a straight signing transaction,” Sund said. “We are looking at other alternatives, of course. You always look at everything but it’s not nearly as easy as if you had four months. Four days instead of four months makes it more it more difficult.”
So all those factors mean a sign-and-trade with the Knicks is out. And, obviously, the Hawks also have no chance of re-signing Crawford or any other free agent making more than the minimum as long as they decline to pay the tax.
This certainly increases the chances — at least logistically from a supply-and-demand perspective — that Larry Bird, who has shown interest in Crawford, follows up his David West acquisition by inking a deal for the former Sixth Man of the Year.