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Warriors, Hawks complete trade for Crawford


Posted Jun 25 2009 11:34PM

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Hawks got some insurance heading into free agency, acquiring guard Jamal Crawford from the Golden State Warriors on Thursday for little-used guards Acie Law and Speedy Claxton.

The trade was completed hours before the NBA draft. Atlanta further beefed up its backcourt by taking Wake Forest guard Jeff Teague with the 19th pick.

"It's been a long day," Hawks general manager Rick Sund said.

Crawford, who had his differences with Golden State coach Don Nelson, provides the Hawks with depth and flexibility at a may need it. Starting point guard Mike Bibby and backup combo guard Flip Murray, who helped Atlanta reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade, are both unrestricted free agents.

The deal was completed after Crawford signed paperwork indicating he won't opt out of his contract and become a free agent. He is due to make nearly $20 million the next two years.

The 29-year-old Crawford averaged 19.7 points, 4.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds last season, but he wasn't in the Warriors' plans.

He's a big part of Atlanta's plans for 2009.

"I'm definitely happy with what we've done," Sund said. "We got a player who scores 20 a game for two players who probably didn't fit into what we were going to do in the future."

Monta Ellis has already been made Golden State's starting point guard heading into training camp. New general manager Larry Riley and Nelson recently visited Ellis in Memphis to tell him how important he is to the franchise.

The Warriors acquired Crawford from the Knicks early last season. Claxton and Law played sparingly in Atlanta, but the trade will provide the Warriors with additional room under the salary cap for 2010.

Riley is also eager to see what Law can do with more playing time.

"We're going to give him every opportunity to play," Riley said. "If you look at his history in Atlanta, he really wasn't used that much. This guy deserves a chance to see what he can do. We're anxious to work with and show what he can do."

The Warriors agreed to take Claxton as a throw-in.

"Speedy has not played for a couple years," Riley said. "I do not know exactly what his thinking is. I'm a little bit reluctant to say very much until I talk to Speedy."

The 31-year-old Claxton was a fan favorite during two seasons with the Warriors from 2003-05, but has been hampered by knee problems and other ailments. He was a huge bust in Atlanta after signing a four-year, $25.5 million contract in 2006, going more than two years without playing until he finally dressed in the final week this past season.

Law, a first-round pick from Texas A&M in 2007, never panned out for Atlanta, either. He averaged 3.6 points in 111 games over two seasons with the Hawks.

Crawford gives the Hawks some insurance in case they are unable to sign either Bibby or Murray.

"There's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of unpredictability in the NBA free agent world," Sund said. "The only thing you can predict is the unpredictability."

Bibby averaged 14.9 points and 5.0 assists, giving the Hawks their first true point guard since Mookie Blaylock. Murray chipped in with a 12.2 scoring average.

"We won 47 games last season," coach Mike Woodson said. "We have to try to get everybody back and see where we can go next season."

Nelson indicated to Crawford during the season that he wasn't in the team's future plans. Nelson sat Crawford for a game against Charlotte on Feb. 27 and he was benched twice in one week during March. He then missed another game after asking for more practice time to prepare following the benchings.

Ellis, who signed a $66 million, six-year deal after averaging a career-best 20.2 points during the 2007-08 season, averaged 19 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists last season.

He was limited to 25 games because of a serious ankle injury last summer in a motorized scooter accident that resulted in a 30-game suspension without pay from the team.

The Warriors added another guard in the draft, taking Stephen Curry of Davidson at No. 7 overall.

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