JULY 9: Crowder’s new contract is official, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic.
JULY 1: Free agent forward Jae Crowder will return to the Bucks, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT (Twitter link), who reports that Crowder has agreed to a one-year deal with Milwaukee.
Milwaukee shipped out five second-round draft picks to acquire the 32-year-old vet in a three-team exchange with the Suns and Nets in February.
Exact terms of the agreement have yet to be reported. In any deal with an outside free agent, the Bucks will be limited to the veteran’s minimum after having committed big money to free agent starters Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez. However, because Milwaukee possesses Crowder’s Bird rights, the team could sign him to a contract above the standard minimum.
A journeyman 3-and-D role player for several high-level postseason teams, the 6’6″ power forward appeared in 18 contests for the Bucks as a reserve last year, averaging 6.9 PPG on .479/.436/.833 shooting splits, 3.8 RPG, 1.5 APG and 0.7 SPG.
He was cut from Milwaukee’s healthy playoff rotation by former head coach Mike Budenholzer during its five-game first round series loss to the Heat. Budenholzer reinserted the Marquette alum in limited minutes after All-NBA power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo injured his back in Game 1.
The Bucks’ salary obligations have them headed for the league’s new second luxury tax apron, which means they don’t have access to the taxpayer’s mid-level exception, valued at $5MM this year, or their bi-annual exception, worth $4.5MM.
Re-adding Crowder, who served as the starting four on consecutive Finals teams in 2020 (the Heat) and 2021 (the Suns), could be the kind of buy-low move that Milwaukee needs to nail if it hopes to return to playoff glory next spring.