Celtics

NBA exec explains why Jae Crowder would be good Celtics trade target

Celtics

The Boston Celtics need a better bench, and they've been linked to several players rumored to be available via free agency or the trade market over the last few weeks.

Those players include New York Knicks guard Alec Burks and Los Angeles Clippers forward Nic Batum, among others.

What about bringing back a player who had success in Boston not too long ago?

Longtime basketball reporter Sean Deveney of Heavy.com talked to an anonymous NBA executive who said Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder is "gettable" on the trade market.

Crowder is entering the final year of his contract with a salary cap hit of $10.2 million, per Spotrac. That salary would fit into the $17.1 million trade exception the Celtics created when they sent Evan Fournier to the Knicks last summer.

How would Crowder fit with this version of the Celtics?

"He is a guy who, to me, makes the most sense for them because he has that toughness they want," the executive told Deveney. "He has been in the Finals, he has played deep in the playoffs for a lot of years and they could use another big guy to stretch the floor. And Ime loves a tough guy, that is the kind of player he was.

 

"The Suns are looking to dump some money and he is in the last year of his deal. It is not a huge commitment for them if he does not work out. But he did not shoot it well last year and he is a step slower so you’ve got to be aware of that. But, you know, they’ve got to find a veteran who has just that little bit more left to give, who fits what Ime wants."

Celtics trade targets: Who could C's acquire with three TPEs?

Crowder was acquired in the Rajon Rondo trade between the Dallas Mavericks and Celtics during the 2014-15 season. He played in Boston through the 2016-17 campaign before he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving deal.

Crowder was an important 3-and-D player for the Celtics who provided good perimeter defense, toughness and timely 3-point shooting.

The 31-year-old veteran still has value as an experienced, hard-nosed player who holds teammates accountable. His offensive impact is not what it was a few years ago, but he averaged a respectable 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Suns last season. Crowder also shot 34.8 percent from 3-point range.

The Celtics should probably aim a bit higher than Crowder in regards to the $17.1 million TPE. Someone with a little more scoring ability would be preferable. But Crowder isn't a bad second- or third-tier option for a team like the C's with very little or no salary cap room.