Originally the Knicks were hoping to sign Crawford for the full mid-level exemption, but it seems the price has been raised. What helped Crawford's case was the fact that Dallas' Marquis Daniels, a similar 'combo' guard, signed for that amount, and Crawford's people think he's worth more than that. So its sign-and-trade time, which is the kind of thing the Knicks love to meddle with.
A sign-and-trade for Crawford, the Chicago Bulls guard, appears to be progressing. Thomas is speaking regularly with the Bulls about a trade for Crawford, a restricted free agent who is looking for a deal in the neighborhood of $7 million and $9 million annually.
The Knicks would prefer to trade Shandon Anderson but will likely be forced to part with Kurt Thomas and perhaps Frank Williams and Othella Harrington. The Bulls would insist that the Knicks take back a player with a big contract, either Eddie Robinson or Jerome Williams.
I'm not gonna go through the salary cap fiasco that comes with a sign-and-trade, as Crawford's new contract qualifies him for BYC status. But looking at the players suggested, I wouldn't mind taking Thomas/Frankie/Harrington back. Thomas is solid at the 4 (his natural position), and can at least provide consistent scoring. Anything that reduces what Antonio Davis' responsibility is a plus.
My boy, fellow Illini Frank Williams, recently has been praised over at Knickerblogger by guest-blogger Kevin Pelton.(look here for his take on Thomas). The most surprising conclusions was his defensive prowess. That has to make Skiles/Pax salivate. Sure he just finished only his second season, but I think he would be a suitable backup PG to Hinrich.
Harrington would be the ever-enticing 'expiring contract' with little more value than that. But a big thumbs down on Shandon Anderson, whose contract GMs avoid like the plague.
On the Bulls side of things, whose contract would you rather see go, E-Rob or the JYD? Here's the remaining figures(thanks to hoopshype):
|Jerome Williams||$5,600,000||$6,075,000||$6,425,000||$7,050,000 (TO)|
Obviously, Williams makes a little less, but is signed for an extra year (I sincerely doubt that team option would be picked up). The numbers don't tell the true value though, as JYD actually is part of the rotation. I think that Skiles' complete lack of faith in E-Rob would have Paxson ready to cut bait. Now watch while E-Rob lights it up for another team.
After its all said and done, Crawford could have no offers worth taking, and
simply play another season with the Bulls for the 3.5m qualifying offer. Him and
his agent seen to be betting on a solid performance this year being parlayed
into a bigger contract when his free agency status will be unrestricted. I am
still waiting for a team with cap space like the Hawks or Bobcats to make a run,
but nothing has even been rumored yet. So a sign-and-trade with the Knicks for
now is the most realistic option. Lets see if Pax can get the best of Isiah