Jamal Crawford sat on a desk in a classroom at Rainier Beach High School. The former Vikings star and NBA free agent is in the final stages of deciding his basketball future, but he took a break from the process Tuesday night.
After watching top-ranked Rainier Beach’s 67-62 win over No. 3 O’Dea on the floor the bears his name, Crawford huddled with his high-school coach Mike Bethea to talk about ways the Vikings can improve.
Then it was back to his future.
“It’s down to a few teams, that’s for sure,” the 6-foot-5 guard said. “I want to make a decision in the next couple of days and be comfortable with that decision. I have some really good choices and options. I just have to be patient, pray about it, sort through it and get this answer.”
The 31-year-old turned down a two-year, $10 million contract offer from the Indiana Pacers and said he has narrowed his list of potential destinations to four teams: Portland, Sacramento, New York and Minnesota.
“I flip-flop every other second,” Crawford said. “Especially in my inner circle, everybody has a different opinion. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to me and I have to live with the decision. I think they’re all good choices.”
A veteran of 11 NBA seasons, Crawford said he is more worried about finding the right fit than hitting a certain dollar amount in his contract.
“It’s kind of everything,” he said. “Honestly, it’s not really the money so much. It’s the fit, how I see myself fitting in that situation. Like I said, they’re really good situations.”
Crawford won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009-10, averaging 18 points per game with Atlanta. He averaged 14.2 last season and said he feels good heading into this lockout-shortened campaign.
“Right now I’m 31, but I’m probably the youngest 31-year-old you’ll ever find,” he said. “I play all the time. I don’t feel like I’ve lost a step — I’m pretty honest with myself. I feel like I’m actually getting better. I feel like these are my prime years.”
Wherever he ends up, the announcement will come soon, bringing an end to this extended offseason of speculation.
“It’s been a wild, wild process to say the least,” Crawford said.