Risky Business

The Good News: The Knicks and Bulls have agreed on a deal to send Jamal Crawford to New York

The Bad News: Jamal’s agent has rejected the deal because he wants a better contract.

The Mercury News is reporting that Paxson & Isiah have sorted out the players involved in the highly awaited Jamal Crawford deal. The problem this time is Crawford’s agent, who doesn’t want to accept the contract the Knicks are currently offering. The article reports a few relevant details, none of which I can verify, but let’s assume they’re true for hypothetical reasons.

  • The deal the Bulls originally offered was 6 years $39M.
  • The deal the Knicks are offering are 7 years for $55M.
  • Crawford & his agent originally thought they would get 6 years for $55M.
  • If Crawford has to stay with the Bulls they will offer him $3.5M next year.

Using these facts I’ve come up with three scenarios for Crawford’s financial future.

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Age 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

DealA $4.8 $5.3 $6.0 $6.8 $7.6 $8.6 ?
DealB $5.1 $5.7 $6.6 $7.6 $8.7 $10.0 $11.5
DealC $3.5 $6.7 $7.5 $8.5 $9.5 $10.7 $12.1

I approximated each contract by taking the total deal, and breaking it down by year assuming he would be getting a 12% raise each year. DealA is the Bulls original offer, which Crawford has already turned down. He would be a free agent at age 31 in the summer of 2011. DealB is if Crawford’s agent accepts the offer the Knicks have given him, and is traded to New York. DealC is Crawford playing next year for $3.5M, the one year deal offered by the Bulls. The next year, he would become an unrestricted free agent, and let’s just assume he signs the 6 year $55M offer that he is reportedly asking the Knicks for.

So what’s the total for each deal?

DealA = $39M + contract for 2011 season

DealB = $55.1M

DealC = $58.6M

For DealA to be anywhere close to the other two, Crawford needs to make more than $16M in 2011. This can only happen in three ways: Crawford would have to become the most dominant player in the league, the salary cap would have to make a phenomenal rise, or Scott Layden has become a GM again. So Crawford’s agent made a wise choice in declining that offer, especially in light of the Knicks current offer.

However, the difference between DealB & DealC is $3.5M over 7 years. In fact if Crawford does take DealC over DealB, then he won’t see a net profit until his third year of the deal, because he’d lose about $1.6M staying with the Bulls next year. There are other things to consider. First is that DealC may be selling him a little short, since it’s entirely possible that Crawford could get more lucrative offers as an unrestricted free agent, than he’s currently getting as a restricted one. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that if Crawford does take the one year deal, his value can drop either by injury or poor play. If Crawford does get seriously injured next year, it’s possible that no one would give him a deal anywhere in the neighborhood of what he’s currently being offered. Finally, Crawford’s agent might be holding out for a 7 year deal. At a 12.5% raise, that would mean about $13M in 2012 (hence the article reported the possibility of a 7year $70M deal).

So Isiah has to factor in the Knicks’ desire for Crawford and decide how much (for how long) his services are worth. Meanwhile Crawford’s agent has to decide how far he’ll take his game of chicken, knowing full well that an injury could cost his client a $55M deal, versus a possible $13M payoff if he convinces the Knicks to give his client that coveted 7th year.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).