Thursday , Feb , 12 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Jamal Crawford Expected to Opt out

Crawford will not commit to anything at the moment, saying, “I’ll wait and see what happens and cross that bridge when I get to it.” But people close to Crawford expect him to become a free agent, and he has many reasons to do so.

Crawford, who turns 29 next month, is in his prime and playing well. He is averaging 19 points, 4.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds for the Warriors. If he opts out, Crawford will leave $19.4 million on the table. However, he could conceivably get $40 million to $50 million in a new five- to six-year deal.

It might be considered a bigger surprise if Crawford did not opt out. So it is possible that the Knicks could have kept Crawford this season and still shed his salary before 2010.

It is an interesting situation to ponder, although not to Walsh. Crawford, he said, had given no indication that he might exercise the opt-out clause. “I didn’t even think about” the possibility, Walsh said. He also noted that if Crawford had stayed with the Knicks and then opted out, “It wouldn’t have left me in a much different position.”