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NBA Rumors: Orlando Magic, Jamal Crawford Reportedly Linked in Free Agency

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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The Orlando Magic are among the teams to contact the agent for free-agent combo guard Jamal Crawford in recent days, reports Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM. The 11-year veteran is coming off the two most successful seasons of his career, which included winning Sixth Man of the Year honors with the Atlanta Hawks in 2009/10. He also played an instrumental role in helping Atlanta upset Orlando in the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs, averaging 20.5 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting from the field and 45.9 percent on three-pointers during that series.

Crawford, 31, could theoretically add some scoring punch to an Orlando bench bereft of it; he'd also instantly become the team's best shot-creator, a skill in which the Magic are woefully deficient. Indeed, Crawford's performance against the Magic in the most recent postseason had coach Stan Van Gundy lamenting his team's lack of off-the-dribble scoring threats. Van Gundy mentioned Crawford by name.

Whether Orlando has the cash to lure Crawford remains to be seen. The Indiana Pacers are another of the teams interested, and could offer him more money. And they're driven to add him: according to Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD, the Pacers "love" Crawford. The Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets are among the other teams vying for Crawford, Rudolph reports.

Crawford has settled nicely into his reserve role with Atlanta, averaging 16.1 points per game off its bench over the last two seasons, shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 36.3 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

Crawford isn't the only backup scoring guard in whom Orlando's shown interest of late: it was previously linked to Nate Robinson, who is seeking his release from the Oklahoma City Thunder in order to sign with a team that's able to offer him consistent playing time. That the Magic have expressed interest in both players strongly suggests they've made shot-creation and scoring a high priority during free agency.