Nellie wants Crawford to Opt Out

Word out of Golden State is that Don Nelson isn’t all to happy with Jamal Crawford and has recently benched the ex-Knick in the hopes that he opts out at season’s end.

“…I’ve heard that when Nelson explained Crawford’s recent one-game benching, he spoke about getting the younger players more time, etc, etc.

But Nelson also told Crawford that he was doing the complete benching in order to help Crawford’s per-game averages, all the better for when (or if) Crawford opts-out, which Nelson very much wants him to do this summer.

That is a loud and clear NBA message, by the way. By even mentioning the opt-out (Crawford can erase the final two years and $19M+ on his deal), Nelson was indicating to Crawford that Nelson wanted him to opt-out.

Even more, Nelson was suggesting that Crawford HAD BETTER OPT-OUT or else Nelson would probably make sure that the situation next year isn’t to Crawford’s liking.

My understanding is that Crawford’s reaction was the same as any proud player’s reaction: Why in the world should I be pushed into a decision like that?

First off, I don’t know if Crawford is going to opt-out, but the shrinking economy tells you that he is unlikely to get better than $20M guaranteed to him on the open market this summer, especially when his coach is not-so-privately grousing about him.

Secondly, nobody has been more critical of Crawford’s defensive liabilities than me, but NBA value is NBA value and you don’t want to be blasting your player’s value as dismissively as that.

Thirdly, I heard Nelson not long ago say that Crawford was his best point guard and that the other candidates weren’t the right fit at the 1. What in the world is going on?..”

If Crawford were still here, we’d be begging for him to opt out too. I still make that Harrington deal 100 times out of a 100.