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Bernucca: Jamal Crawford Is No. 13 UFA; Nicolas Batum Is No. 3 RFA

Chris Bernucca of SheridanHoops.com ranks the top-20 unrestricted free agents of the Class of 2012. Portland Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford checks in at No. 13. ------------------------------ 13. JAMAL CRAWFORD: The former Sixth Man Award winner, now 32, has a player option that allows him to duck out on $5 million for next season and pursue bigger money. If so, he will have to act quickly because he got left holding the bag prior to this season. He can still score with the best of them but his .384 shooting – his lowest since his 2000-01 rookie season – is cause for concern. DESTINATION: The Trail Blazers have a very unsettled backcourt and the ability to do some manuevering this summer. Crawford might be a better option in Chicago than Rip Hamilton, although the Bulls would have to get a bit creative. ------------------------------ Former Blazers forward Gerald Wallace came in at No. 7. In a related piece, Bernucca ranks Blazers forward Nicolas Batum as the No. 3 restricted free agent in the Class of 2012. ------------------------------ 3. NICOLAS BATUM: He was a reserve when unsuccessfully negotiating an extension, and there was some bad blood. His agent said, "The Blazers had their chance." But Portland traded Gerald Wallace, elevating Batum to starter status and perhaps bridging the gap between the sides – as long as Batum’s camp isn’t holding a grudge. He had career highs in scoring, rebounding and 3-point shooting and is just 23 and incredibly athletic. DESTINATION: So much depends on the initial tone in negotiations. If it sours, Batum could end up in Charlotte or Phoenix, both of which have cap room and a hole at small forward. THE RIGHT PRICE: Four years, $40 million. Batum has upside, but not max player upside. ------------------------------ -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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