Jae Crowder is back, knee is better, so are the Celtics
Jae Crowder returned to the Boston Celtics yesterday. He is back on a 5 year, $35 million deal, which was agreed on for about a month, and is now official.
Crowder did at least have conversations with other teams as he explored the free agency market, but as he said at yesterday's press conference, his heart was always in Boston. Masslive.com's Jay King pulled this quote from the press conference in his piece on Crowder.
"We all know it's a business," Crowder said. "There were some options, we wanted to just see, but at the same time, my heart was here. It's a business, but I had to talk to other teams, had to do what I had to do, but, at the end of the day, when it came down to it, my heart was here. I had a great relationship -- I was a building a relationship with Danny over the summer as well. My heart was always here. I just knew if we could get something done, it'd be done sooner than later."
He also addressed his knee injury (the result of a J.R. Smith hatchet job in the Celtics last playoff game), and assured us that it is 100% healthy, and any continued rehab is strictly precautionary.
While Crowder's heart was always in Boston, it seems to have helped that he likes what they have done in the offseason, and that they continue to want to build and improve. ESPN's Chris Forsberg had a great article on the Celtics taking a step forward this upcoming season, and it had this quote from Crowder.
Added Crowder: "I don't think we're going to go backwards. I think we're in the right direction moving forward. That's to win playoff games like Danny [Ainge] said, and we didn't do that last year. So that's our next goal. We're taking steps. Of course we want Banner 18, but at the same time we have to win a playoff game first before we get to Banner 18. I think we're moving in the right direction."
Crowder is exactly the type of player the Celtics need in the future, and also needed last year, as the thought of losing is not in his nature. His competitive fire was contagious and much needed for a team that defied expectations in the latter half of the season. He also made Danny Ainge look like a very smart man, as he has so far unquestionably turned out to be the best player involved in the Rajon Rondo trade.
Ainge looks even smarter when you see Crowder's contract goes down over in 2016-17, as it helps the team maintain the flexibility that he has done everything short of enroll his actual salary cap in yoga classes to preserve going into future off seasons.
7.5% decrease in the Crowder contract for 2016-17 gives BOS a bit more cap space.
In an offseason that has had many of us fans talking ourselves into players and deals, searching desperately for one concrete thing to be completely excited about, Jae is it. I love the way he plays, I love his fire, and if he can have an uptick on his 3 point shooting percentage while also maintaining his defense and selfless play, he is one guy the Celtics and their fans should be ecstatic to have on their side.