On Friday, Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau addressed local media in a conference call. During the call, Thibodeau noted that he felt the Timberwolves were in a “good position” to add perimeter shooting and depth at the wing positions.
He must have, in part, been referring to Jamal Crawford.
According to Shams Charania with The Vertical, Minnesota and Crawford have agreed upon a two-year, $8.9 million deal, with a player option on a year two, that will be signed once Crawford clears waivers. Crawford recently agreed to a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks.
Sources: Crawford plans to sign with Minnesota on a two-year, $8.9M deal, with second year player option, once he clears waivers. https://t.co/q8kfKfQLXW— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 8, 2017
The Timberwolves fanbase has been so desperately and impatiently waiting for Thibodeau and general manager Scott Layden to make a move that bring in perimeter shooting and/or wing depth. Adding Crawford can be identified as a move that fits both of those categories.
For now, Crawford slides in nicely as a potential sixth man scoring punch off the bench, similar to the role Shabazz Muhammad nestled into over the last couple of seasons. Minnesota’s bench was dead last in the NBA a season ago in points scored per game.
Crawford is streaky and not necessarily elite as a perimeter shooter. He made 36 percent of his attempts last season with the Clippers, and is a 35 percent career three-point shooter.
His playing style could bring about an awkward fit should he find significant playing time with the big scorers such as Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins or Karl-Anthony Towns. While Crawford is a fine shooter, he isn’t necessarily a floor spacer. He is a ball-dominant player who, when he was in his prime anyway, has excelled at creating his own shot to score points.
Minnesota’s offense likely won’t — or at least it shouldn’t — feature Crawford in isolation very often. Plus, he only shot 34.8 percent on catch-and-shoot treys a season ago, so his fit as a floor spacer doesn’t project too well.
Thibodeau’s offense centers around a ball handler that can attack the hoop or dish off the pick-and-roll, which Crawford has done some in his career. So maybe that is in Thibodeau’s plans?
On the bright side, Crawford brings 17 years of experience, including five with the semi-competitive Clippers, that should be helpful to the young Wolves.
Thibodeau has now acquired Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford this offseason, which is a total of 27 playoff seasons more than the team could boast a month ago.
But on the court, Crawford figures to be an awkward fit given his playing style and what the Timberwolves already have in place. If the 37-year-old finds a fountain of youth or is willing to change his role to be more of a floor spacer, this contract will be worth it.
As far as future free agency moves, this acquisition doesn’t affect Minnesota’s salary cap room since it instead uses all of the room exception. So, the Cole Aldrich salary dump is still likely as long as Thibodeau can find a team to agree.