Instead of joining LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, veteran sixth man Jamal Crawford picked the young Minnesota Timberwolves as his next destination. Shams Charania of The Vertical reported that Crawford and the Timberwolves agreed on a two-year contract worth $8.9 million. Crawford joined the Timberwolves after he was waived by the Atlanta Hawks, who acquired him via a three-team trade with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets. The Clippers got Danilo Gallinari, the Hawks got Diamond Stone and Crawford, while the Nuggets acquired a 2019 second-round pick.

Crawford’s decision came as a surprise as he earlier expressed interest in joining the Cavaliers after getting his release from the Hawks. Crawford even met with James and discussed the possibility of playing together in Cleveland. However, it all boiled down to salary as the Cavs did not offer him their full mid-level exception, which they are planning to use to bring Turkish center Cedi Osman to the NBA.

Crawford to provide veteran leadership to Timberwolves

The 37-year-old Crawford is expected to provide veteran leadership and bench scoring for the young Timberwolves, who recently acquired Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls via a trade on draft day. Last season, the Timberwolves were last in the NBA in terms of bench points with 22.8 points per game.

Crawford, who won the Sixth Man of the Year award three times, averaged 12.3 points on 41.3 percent shooting from the field in 82 games with the Clippers. Before Crawford’s arrival, the Timberwolves only had Tyus Jones, Nemanja Bjelica and Taj Gibson as projected scorers off the bench. With Crawford on board, Andrew Wiggins, Butler, and Karl-Anthony Towns will have a reliable partner on offense and a leader in the locker room.

Crawford a three-time Sixth Man of the Year

A 16-year veteran, Crawford captured the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award during the 2015-16, 2013-14 and 2009-10 seasons. Two years ago, Crawford became the oldest winner of the Sixth Man award at age 36 after averaging 14.2 points and 2.3 assists in 26.9 minutes in 79 games with the Clippers.

In 1,182 games, he averaged 15.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.

The Cavaliers drafted Crawford 8th overall in the 2000 draft but traded him to the Bulls, where he played four seasons. He suited up for the New York Knicks from 2004 to 2009 and one year with the Golden State Warriors. He played two years with the Hawks and one year with the Portland Trail Blazers before signing with the Clippers.