Free agent Jamal Crawford heading to Portland

Free agent Jamal Crawford heading to Portland

Free agent Jamal Crawford heading to Portland

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by Associate Press

KING5.com

Posted on December 15, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 1:36 AM

PORTLAND, Ore.-- Free-agent guard Jamal Crawford has decided to join the Portland Trail Blazers.

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

The terms of the agreement Thursday were not clear. The Trail Blazers refused to comment because the deal had yet to be formally signed and Crawford's agent could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

An 11-year veteran, Crawford played for the Atlanta Hawks the last two seasons. For his career, he has averaged 15.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He won the NBA's Sixth Man award in 2010.

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 Brandon Roy, who last week announced his retirement because of knee issues, and 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," Crawford said.

It was expected that the Blazers would use the NBA's new amnesty clause to waive Roy, freeing up salary cap space and allowing the team to use a mid-level exemption on Crawford.

Roy, a three-time All-Star who has played all five of his NBA seasons in Portland, had been dogged by pain for the past two years because he lacks cartilage between the bones in his knees.

He sat for stretches of last season because of soreness and had arthroscopic surgery on both knees last January. He returned to end the season with a career-low average of 12.2 points in 47 games.

Roy, a fan favorite who many credit with turning around the team's once-tarnished "Jail Blazers" reputation, finished his career with averages of 19 points, 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds.

Coach Nate McMillan praised Roy and his proclivity for late-game heroics after practice on Thursday.

"The closer. That's how I look at him," McMillan said. "The closer has closed."

Crawford is close to Roy, a fellow Seattle native.

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