The Phoenix Suns are reportedly meeting with NBA veteran Jamal Crawford, one of the most surprising remaining free agents in the league.
Crawford, 38, still has legitimate value as a combo guard and would help Phoenix considering their lack of depth in the backcourt. Even though Suns star Devin Booker is targeting an opening night return, the team does not currently have a bona fide starting-caliber point guard on their roster. Crawford has experience as a point guard and could also be a spark plug off the bench.
James Jones, the Suns’ interim general manager and vice president of basketball operations, confirmed that the team is interested in Crawford (via told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station):
“Jamal is… a guy that we’re looking at. He’s someone that we’ve expressed interest in, one of many names. I like Jamal. I know him personally. He’s a great player, he’s a great guy. Those are the types of players that we will look towards as we go through the season.”
Phoenix currently have younger options like De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo, all of whom have yet to show they’re ready for meaningful minutes during the regular season. They also have Shaquille Harrison, who is a former G League standout that projects to be more of a reserve than a starter. They also have Isaiah Canaan, who is coming off a brutal injury and has spent much of his career as a backup.
If nothing else, Crawford offers a sense of legitimacy for a team no longer interested in tanking. Crawford is known for his professionalism and would be an excellent leader in Phoenix’s young locker room. The Suns signed fellow veteran Trevor Ariza earlier this offseason for similar reasons.
The 38-year-old Crawford was interested in signing with the San Antonio Spurs (among other teams), but those talks reportedly “did not gain traction” earlier this week.
During his most recent season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Crawford was most often used as the ballhandler in a pick-and-roll offense. When used on this play type, he averaged 0.90 points per possession. That ranked Top 25 (minimum: 200 possessions) out of the 86 players in the league that qualified.
The veteran was also efficient as a spot-up shooter and when he matched up one-on-one against defenders. Of course, his most valuable skill is his proven leadership and trusted ability to mentor younger teammates. He would provide some much-needed guard help, while helping Phoenix’s young core develop. He’d certainly have a positive impact on Deandre Ayton, Josh Jackson, Booker, Melton and Okobo among others.