The Orlando Magic are among the teams to express an interest in free-agent scoring guard Jamal Crawford, reports Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM. Crawford, formerly of the Atlanta Hawks, figures to be in high demand once free agency begins because he can score in bunches and man either guard position. The other teams to contact Crawford's agent, according to Rudolph, are the New Orleans Hornets, Indiana Pacers, and Chicago Bulls.
Crawford's coming off a season in which he averaged 14.2 points per game off the Atlanta Hawks' bench, a sharp decline from the 2009/10 season, when he took home Sixth Man of the Year honors for scoring 18 points per game in just 31.1 minutes.
The former Michigan Wolverine's stock-in-trade is scoring, and his slick handle allows him to break defenders down off the dribble in order to create his own shot. That's a skill Orlando, which relies heavily on jump-shooting, desperately needs to diversify its offense. Coach Stan Van Gundy said as much during Orlando's first-round playoff loss to Crawford's Hawks. Crawford averaged 20.5 points per game in that series.
However, given the wide-ranging interest in Crawford around the league, it's unlikely the Magic will be able to entice him to join them, as Orlando is deep in luxury-tax territory and can thus only offer him the mini mid-level exception, worth roughly $3 million annually. Crawford earned just over $10 million in 2010/11, according to ShamSports.com.
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