December 16, 2011 in Sports

Free agent Crawford heading to Portland Trail Blazers


Free-agent guard Jamal Crawford has joined the Portland Trail Blazers.

Crawford, who was reportedly considering Sacramento and the Blazers, announced his choice on Twitter, posting “Rip city!!!”

The Blazers made it official a few hours later on Thursday when they announced they had signed Crawford, from Rainier Beach High in Seattle. The terms of the two-year deal were not released.

To make a deal with Crawford, the team used the NBA’s new amnesty clause to waive All-Star guard Brandon Roy, who announced his retirement last week because of ongoing knee problems.

An 11-year veteran, Crawford played for the Atlanta Hawks the last two seasons.

For his career, the 31-year-old has averaged 15.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He won the NBA’s Sixth Man award in 2010.

“We’ve thought highly of Jamal for a long time and think he’s a great fit for our team,” said Chad Buchanan, Portland’s acting general manager. “He brings a scorer’s touch and veteran leadership that will help us immediately.”

Blazers guard Wesley Matthews said he spoke to Crawford on Wednesday night.

“I’m excited about it,” Matthews said. “He wants to come and win and that’s what we’re about.”

Crawford, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, will help the Blazers deal with the absence of Roy and former Blazer Rudy Fernandez, who was traded away on draft night in June.

Matthews said he was unconcerned about potential competition for playing time.

“We can coexist at the same time, similar to what they did in Atlanta with Joe Johnson and him,” Matthews said.

By using amnesty to waive Roy, the Blazers freed up salary cap space that allowed the team to use a midlevel exception on Crawford.

Roy, who was under a max contract, was set to make $15 million this year.

The Trail Blazers announced later they had signed free-agent forward Craig Smith. Nicknamed “The Rhino,” Smith played the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, averaging 5.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 48 games.

Around the league

Charlotte signed shooting guard Reggie Williams to a two-year contract, filling one of the team’s biggest needs. But the team also announced Williams will have surgery in the coming days to repair a tear of the lateral meniscus in his left knee. He’s expected to be sidelined for approximately six to eight weeks with the pre-existing injury. He was eighth in the league in 3-point shooting last season at 42.3 percent for the Warriors. … Utah Jazz officials say they have reached a deal with free-agent Josh Howard. Howard, 6-foot-7, was a key player for Dallas from 2003-10. He averaged a career-high 19.9 points in 2007-08. Howard was traded to Washington in February 2010 but tore an anterior cruciate ligament the following month. … The New York Knicks signed center Jerome Jordan. Jordan, a second-round pick of Milwaukee in 2010 whose rights the Knicks acquired for cash, is the second 7-footer New York added this offseason. … The New Jersey Nets signed free-agent forward Shawne Williams away from the rival Knicks. Williams, a 6-9 forward, played in 64 games for New York and posted career-best averages of 7.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game.

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