Jamal Crawford, the league's reigning Sixth Man of the Year, has requested a contract extension from the Atlanta Hawks, according to league sources.Given what the Hawks have proven willing to pay aging shooting guards--$19 million to Crawford for his age 29 and 30 seasons, $124 million to Joe Johnson for his age 29 through 34 seasons--who could blame him? Factor in that Crawford had a career year, played in the first post-season games of his career, and there's an impending lockout and this should come as no surprise. I don't expect any quick movement due both to organizational inertia and the impending lockout. The next collective bargaining agreement may well save the owners from themselves.
The 30-year-old Crawford made his request three weeks ago, but with the Hawks focused on re-signing All-Star Joe Johnson and other free agents, talks have not progressed to the serious stage.
As to the first roadblock* (above) to a Jamal Crawford extension, Josh Childress spoke with Sekou Smith about why he left Atlanta:
"I don't think I ever got a formal offer. ll I wanted was a deal. I just wanted to feel like they wanted me to be a part of their team. And I never had that feeling. It was always, 'we'll deal with him when we have time.' Personally and professionally, I felt like I acquitted myself the right way. I came to work and did what was asked of me. and then when it came time to negotiate, it was like 'we'll get to him whenever we can.' At least that was the attitude that was conveyed to me."Childress, you'll recall, was probably the third best player (at worst, the fourth-best player) on the first Hawks team to make the playoffs in a decade. Again, talent evaluation is what holds this franchise back.
That's not just an issue with the front office, either. Childress offered an implicit explanation for how he played 500 fewer minutes than the inferior Marvin Williams in 2007-08 when he explained what attracted him to the Suns:
"One of the main things that got me excited about the opportunity was speaking with [Suns] Coach [Alvin] Gentry. They truly enjoy playing like a team. He was telling me how there were plenty of games last year where the second unit would finish the game. He made it clear that whoever is playing well will play. It's not about playing favorites. It's an equal opportunity situation."Mike Woodson loved clearly defined roles. It cost the Hawks during the 2007-08 season. It cost the Hawks every time Mario West or Joe Smith stepped on the court. It ultimately cost them a good player in Josh Childress. That all the team got back for him was a second-round pick and a traded player exception they probably can't afford to use is where the front office and ownership re-enter the picture.
*Not counting common sense.