Seattle natives accounted for two NBA awards last season: Franklin High School alum Aaron Brooks won the NBA's Most Improved Player award as a member of the Houston Rockets and Rainier Beach High School alum Jamal Crawford won Sixth Man of the Year with the Atlanta Hawks.
And heading into this season, neither has worked out a contract extension nor are they particularly happy with the situation.
Rockets guard Brooks unhappy with contract situation | Sports | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
Brooks had hoped his breakthrough season and status as the NBA's Most Improved Player award winner would prompt the Rockets to offer a contract extension. Instead, he said the Rockets' unwillingness to work on a new deal for beyond this season is "bothering" him.
"It's kind of stressful," Brooks said. "I was hoping we maybe could get something done this summer, but we couldn't, so I'm stuck in the position I'm in.
"I understand, but it's bothering me. It's the business of basketball. You have to take it like it is. I'm stuck with that."
However, if there was ever there was a case study in short memories in the NBA, it's with Brooks' situations - what have you done for me lately has turned into what might you do for me right now given the new players we have available.
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With Kevin Martin on board, though, Brooks will be judged more as a point guard. By these standards, he's just not that special. That Daryl Morey re-upped Kyle Lowry over the summer didn't just send a message to Brooks, or make a statement about the kind of team he wants to field. Brooks mattered for a while, but circumstances change, and looking down the road, the Rockets could use a different kind of player at the one. Lowry doesn't need to be the focus of things to produce; he knows to be conservative in his shooting, gets to the line a bunch, rebounds and grunts, and understands how to run an offense without over-reaching.
But Crawford seemed to express a sentiment that applies to both of these guys: these aren't the stereotypical NBA prima donas who are looking to feed their inflated egos with bloated contracts. More than anything, both seem sincere in their request to simply be rewarded for award-winning performances last season.
Hawks' Crawford still wants that extension - CBSSports.com
And Crawford's words Monday backed all that up. He said he'll always be professional and that he doesn't want to be a problem or distraction. He called the situation "weird" and then went on to say, "You talk about your core pieces and the future and I just want to be a part of that. I want to be here in Atlanta. I love playing here with these guys and for these fans. I’m still hopeful that something works out, but obviously I don’t control this situation … but I have said all along that this is where I want to be."
It's hard to believe that Crawford isn't sincere in not wanting to be a distraction - we're talking about a guy who helped set up a tutoring session for players at Rainier Beach when Nate Robinson was there, spends time working out with all the up and coming Seattle players, and spent his summer in the city at the Hood Classic, the Nate Robinson's high school jersey retirement ceremony and among the common folk at a Storm game.
For those that consider Crawford a black hole, there probably couldn't be greater dissonance between a player's personality off the court and their perceived style of play on it. Both Brooks and Crawford are great guys, but Crawford is among the most down-to-earth and grounded professional athletes you'll ever come across.
Hopefully, Atlanta fans won't vilify Crawford for asking for a little certainty in a career year.