The shorthanded Brooklyn Nets agreed to a deal with one of the top veteran scorers on the market, Jamal Crawford, late Wednesday night.
His acquisition supplies invaluable reinforcements for a Nets team that traveled down to the NBA’s Orlando bubble in Walt Disney World on Tuesday with just 12 players in their ranks.
Their roster has been decimated since the calendar flipped to 2020 and the ensuing coronavirus pandemic. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving did not travel with the team as they recover from injuries, Nic Claxton recently underwent shoulder surgery, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince, and Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for COVID-19, and Wilson Chandler opted not to play citing health and safety reasons.
Dinwiddie, the team’s best remaining player, announced on Tuesday that he would not join the team in Orlando after testing positive for the virus for a second time.
Those recent positive tests opened the door for the Nets to sign Crawford, who would understandably have a chip on his shoulder heading into the Orlando bubble.
The 40-year-old has not played in an NBA game since last year as he couldn’t find a team to catch on with for the first — or normal — part of the 2019-20 season.
He’s shown an ability to produce regardless of his age. From 2003-2018, 16-straight seasons, he averaged double-digits in points per game.
While he was used sparingly for a majority of last season with the Phoenix Suns, he came alive in the final three games as a reminder that he can still hoop.
Crawford averaged 35.3 points over Phoenix’s final three games, including a 51-point effort against the Dallas Mavericks in the season finale.
Heading into the NBA’s restart on July 30, the Nets are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. With eight regular-season games remaining, they are a half-game ahead of the Orlando Magic, who holds the last playoff spot.