ChrisHaynes, CSNNW.com Trail Blazers Insider (@ChrisBHaynes)
In his first exclusive interview since Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported PortlandTrail Blazers' guard, Jamal Crawford will opt out, Crawford confirms to CSNNW.com that he will indeed opt out of a deal that would have paidhim 5.25 million next season and become an unrestricted free agentthis summer.
Yeah, I'm optingout, Crawford told CSNNW.com. After talking with my agent, itwas a no-brainer. The whole plan all along was to secure a one-yeardeal so I could hit the market again this offseason.
I had a couple ofplayoff teams that offered me a deal that was double what I wasmaking this year but I wanted to wait. Now I get the chance to gothrough an entire free agency period due to having a rushed offseasonlast year.
To say Crawforddidn't have one of his best seasons as a professional would be anunderstatement. For the first time since his third year in theleague, he was asked -by now fired Nate McMillan--to play thepoint guard position after solidifying himself as one of the topscorers in the league.
His role changedalmost every week from being the sixth man, to eighth man, to shooting15 shots, to shooting 2 shots.
Yet still, Crawfordsays coming to Portland was the right move and he wanted to make surethe Blazers were in a good position to do what was necessary movingforward this offseason.
At the end of theday, I wanted to do it (opt out) quick out of respect for Portlandand just because I've opted out doesn't mean I don't want to return.But I'll definitely look at all my options this summer.
Crawford signed a2-year, 10 million deal last December with the Trail Blazers with anopt-out clause after the first season. He had a June 15 deadline toexercise that option.
As of yet, Crawfordsays he hasn't sat down with his agent and discussed what type ofteam he's looking for or the financial parameters he's expecting.
The Seattle nativehas likely played his last game as a Trail Blazer and even though hedoesn't know what the future holds, he wanted to give a shout out toall the Blazer fans.
"Thank you Blazerfans that came out every single night and gave me so much support.And even the fans that didn't, I didn't take it personal because Irespect how passionate you guys are. The organization is classy andtreated me with nothing but respect from Mr. (Paul) Allen to Larry(Miller) to everybody associated with the organization. It's not agood bye, just a decision I'm making.
For the season,Crawford averaged 14.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assist per game.