Crowder saw the writing on the wall with Celtics

Crowder saw the writing on the wall with Celtics

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – The Celtics drafted Jayson Tatum in June, a wing forward who the franchise envisions growing along with second-year wing Jaylen Brown.
They signed Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million max contract just a couple weeks later, a string of moves that left Jae Crowder unsure of what his role (if any) with the franchise was going forward.
“There was some concern because you have a lot of wing players stacked up,” Crowder admitted. “And I made it clear to the organization that I was concerned about it and wanted some direction. They showed me what they wanted to do and I respected it.”
Crowder was part of the four-player trade which sent himself, along with Isaiah Thomas and Ante Zizic, to Cleveland with the Celtics getting Kyrie Irving in return.
While most of the focus on the trade centered around the Thomas-Irving component of the deal, the addition of Crowder gives the Cavaliers a dimension at both ends of the floor that they need as they set their sights on continuing as the team to beat in the East.
“His on-court, off-court plus-minus is at a high level,” said Cavs general manager Koby Altman. “He contributes to winning at an extremely high level. That’s why we value him to that extent. He also brings a tough, gritty attitude defensively, [he'll] pick up the best player. He’s a core piece to this Cavaliers team going forward.”


According to NBA.com/stats, Crowder’s net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating) last season was +7.8, second only to Amir Johnson, (the ex-Celtic now with the Philadelphia 76ers) whose net rating was 8.0.
Even more telling was what happened when Crowder was not on the floor.
The Celtics had a net rating of -3.9, which was the largest drop off by any Celtic last season when they were on the bench. Those are the kind of numbers that speak to just how valuable Crowder was at both ends of the floor last season.
Crowder’s value can be seen in many ways, with his toughness often standing out above all else.  No time was it more on display than Aug. 22, the day he was traded, which also coincided with the death of his mother.
I asked Crowder about that day at his Cavaliers' introductory press conference on Thursday that also included Thomas and Zizic.
“There was a lot going on that day, obviously,” Crowder said. “The good thing about the whole ordeal was I was able to whisper it to my mom (Helen Thompson, 51) before she passed. I was with her. I just told her, 'We're going to Cleveland.' Five minutes later, she passed."
The pain of losing his mother will not subside anytime soon, but Crowder has shown throughout his career a resiliency to weather whatever storms come his way.
And while his playing time will likely take a dip in Cleveland, Crowder seems in a better place not only to play steady minutes with the Cavs but compete for the ultimate prize – an NBA title.
“That day [of the trade] was tough, but it was a good day for myself, for my basketball career, to move on to an organization like this, like the Cleveland Cavaliers, to put myself in a position to play for it all,” Crowder said. “I couldn't ask myself for nothing else. I was thankful for Boston, for everything they've done for me, and for trading me to a team like this. I was thankful for the opportunity. But that day was pretty wild."
Crowder, a former second-round pick from Marquette entering his sixth NBA season, averaged career highs in several categories last season with the Celtics, including minutes played (32.4), field- goal percentage (.463), 3-point percentage (.398), rebounds (5.8) and assists (2.2).

Gordon Hayward will start traveling with Celtics in March

Gordon Hayward will start traveling with Celtics in March

LOS ANGELES – The Boston Celtics have made a point of trying to change up Gordon Hayward’s rehabilitation routine as to avoid the boredom that’s often associated with the recovery process from a long-term injury such as his.

How about a few days in Southern California?

Hayward is with the team here in Los Angeles, and will stay behind for a few days afterward according to head coach Brad Stevens.

“One of the things we wanted to do was change his environment,” said Stevens who added that Hayward may begin traveling with the team in March. “So, he’s going to be here for these two games, and he will stay here in Southern California for a week to 10 days with a couple of our staff and re-join us in Boston.”

The key to him re-joining the team for road games hinges on whether he can do is rehabilitation work without the need for an ultra-gravity (Ultra-G) machine which he has been using.

Stevens later explained why the team felt the need to try and switch up Hayward’s regimen.

“People that have been through this, you know, long process ... One of the things about us, we’re jumping on a plane every four or five days,” said Stevens who added that Hayward still has “a long way to go” before returning to play in an actual game. “And he’s used to that and he has been in the same routine doing the same thing for three or four months without that. So, we just wanted to have him here for a couple games while we’re out West and for a few days later, leave him out here.”

Al Horford is among the Celtics eager to have Hayward join the team on road games, even if his timeline for returning to action is still targeted for next season.

“We’re happy, anytime, for Gordon to be around us,” Horford said. “For him, it’s his process to getting back to where he needs to be. Obviously, we’re respectful of that. But any chance that he gets around us, it’s good to share with him. He’s still a part of this. That’s the cool thing about it.”


Al Horford joins Kyrie Irving at the all-star game, selected as reserve


Al Horford joins Kyrie Irving at the all-star game, selected as reserve

LOS ANGELES – Kyrie Irving won’t be all by his lonesome during all-star weekend next month, with teammate Al Horford being selected as an all-star reserve.

For Horford, this will be his fifth all-star selection but first as a member of the Boston Celtics after joining the team in 2016.

Horford’s play, particularly on defense, has been instrumental to the Celtics (34-13) having the best record in the Eastern Conference, and third overall in the NBA.

This season, he has averaged 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting a career-best 43 percent from 3-point range.

Horford’s numbers don’t always speak to his impact on teams and more important, winning games.

“He’s a big part of our team in order for us to be number one in the East and hopefully sustain that spot,” Irving said earlier today. “We know how valuable he is. The Celtics organization, our team, everybody. He definitely has a case; he’s got my vote.”

Horford is grateful and appreciative of being named an all-star.

But his focus, as you might expect, is on what he views as a much more significant prize – a victory tonight which would snap Boston’s season-long losing streak which stands at three straight.

Horford is more concerned about the Celtics setting the tone defensively tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“That has to be our mindset,” he said. “And sticking together. So this is a great time for us to make sure we’re together and we do it as a group.”