Celtics Have Minimal Interest in Reunion With Ex-Starter: Report

Jae Crowder

Getty Jae Crowder, formerly of the Boston Celtics reacts after a foul is called.

Because the Boston Celtics have a $17.1 million trade exception thanks to the Evan Fournier trade last summer with the New York Knicks, they can potentially acquire anyone who makes that amount of money or less with it until July 18 when it expires. One possible option is Jae Crowder, who played for the Celtics from 2015 to 2017. Crowder is slated to make 10,183,800 in the 2022-23 season, which means he could fit into the exception. According to John Gombadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix, Boston doesn’t have much interest in bringing him back.

Gombadoro makes it sound as though Boston would be happy to take Crowder off the Phoenix Suns‘ hands if the Suns were giving Crowder away, but if the Suns were to ask for any asset in return, Boston would not be interested.

Things can change, but it appears Boston’s not interested in a Jae Crowder reunion unless the Suns were to trade him to Boston for nothing.

Crowder Named as a Possible TPE Target

Keith Smith of Celtics Blog wrote a list of the top 25 players that the Celtics could potentially target with the Evan Fournier trade exception. Crowder was ranked ninth on the list by Smith. Smith said that Crowder would have ranked higher on the list if he had shot better from three-point land – Crowder shot 34.8 percent from three during the 2021-22 season – but because he didn’t, he fell all the way to ninth.

9. Jae Crowder – $10,183,800 – Phoenix Suns: Another old friend! And we’ve satisfied CelticsBlog editor extraordinaire Billy Sy’s requirement of some former Celtics on the list! In reality, if Crowder hadn’t fallen off the planet with his shooting last year, he’d be higher on this list because of his ability as a two-way player. But he did struggle to shoot it, so Crowder is down here.

Crowder was not the only former Celtic on the list, as Smith named Kelly Olynyk, who played for the Celtics from 2013 to 2017, and ranked him one spot above Crowder. Smith cited Olynyk’s shooting and passing abilities for why he would fit in with the team.

8. Kelly Olynyk – $12,804,878 – Detroit Pistons: If the feeling is that Boston can get a wing on the free agent market using the Taxpayer MLE, why not bring an old friend home? Olynyk would fit right into the team’s frontcourt. He’s playable with any of the other Celtics bigs, and his shooting and passing would be a nice addition to that foursome.

Smith also named Marcus Morris Sr, who played for the Celtics from 2017 to 2019, and ranked him 17th on the list. Smith cited Morris’ toughness for why he’d be someone to consider.

17. Marcus Morris Sr. – $16,372,093 – LA Clippers: Another old “friend”. Why “friend”? Morris and the Celtics didn’t part on the best terms. But he would fill a need as a 3/4 who brings some toughness. Also, the idea of Morris and Ime Udoka going head-to-head is humorous, yet frightening.

Miami May Want Crowder as a PJ Tucker Replacement

As noted above, Gombadoro alluded to the Miami Heat making sense as a destination for Crowder in case PJ Tucker leaves them this offseason. However, Gombadoro later added that while Miami would want Crowder as a fallback option, he believes they don’t have any desirable asset that could entice Phoenix to trade Crowder to them.

Crowder played for Miami in 2020 and helped the Heat make the NBA Finals in 2020 before signing with the Suns that very offseason.

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