Jae Crowder

Atlantic Notes: Thomas, Crowder, Zeller

While the Celtics won’t struggle to replace the statistics that Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder posted, they’ll be hard-pressed to find a replacement for the toughness and temperament they brought to Boston, A. Sherrod Blakeley of CSN New England writes.

Both Thomas and Crowder took their careers to a new level in Boston, blossoming into substantial core pieces for the rejuvenated Celtics. Some of the franchise’s best moments from the past few seasons, Blakeley writes, can be attributed directly to the twosome.

That underdog mentality was and is a major component for any team looking to unseat LeBron James and Cleveland in the East. Now Thomas and Crowder will bring that tough, scrappy frame of mind with them to a Cavaliers squad that’s looking like an underdog itself — at least compared to the champions in Golden State.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Prior to signing Tyler Zeller this week, the Nets had just two players taller than 6’8″ on their roster, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes.
  • The Raptors doubled down on a winning formula this summer but it may be for naught, Shaun Powell of NBA.com writes. Toronto’s core is intact, but what they could really benefit from is the development of some of their young assets.
  • Count former Celtics great Paul Pierce among those high on Jayson Tatum. The future Hall of Famer told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England that the rookie, with his footwork and step-back, reminds him of himself toward the later stages of his career.

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Crowder, Griffin, Raptors

Is Carmelo Anthony resigned to the prospect of heading to training camp with the Knicks? David Pick tweets that he has begun interacting with some of his teammates on social media. Anthony has been sending encouraging texts to Kristaps Porzingis, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez and following their progress in the EuroBasket competition.

Anthony and his representatives have made it clear throughout the summer that his first choice is a trade to the Rockets, where he could join forces with James Harden and Chris Paul on one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Knicks management has expressed a willingness to move Anthony, but won’t take on the three years and $61MM remaining on Ryan Anderson‘s contract. Houston hasn’t found another team to help facilitate the deal, and with camp just 17 days away, Anthony appears to be preparing to remain in New York for a while.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics‘ offseason moves gave Jae Crowder reason to think he wouldn’t be in Boston much longer, writes A. Sherrod Brown of CSNNE. Crowder, part of the package sent to Cleveland in the Kyrie Irving deal, was the Celtics’ starting small forward in all 72 games he played last season. However, he watched the team draft Jayson Tatum in June and sign free agent Gordon Hayward a few days later. “There was some concern because you have a lot of wing players stacked up,” Crowder said. “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.”
  • Former Cavaliers GM David Griffin thinks the Celtics are facing an adjustment period and might not see the benefits right away from their offseason maneuvering, relays Kevin Spain of USA Today. Although Boston picked up two All-Stars in Irving and Hayward, Griffin believes the loss of Crowder and Isaiah Thomas will be difficult to overcome, along with Avery Bradley, who was traded to the Pistons to free up cap room to sign Hayward. “Losing Bradley, Crowder and Isaiah is losing a lot of grit and overachievers that identified that team,” Griffin stated. “So they’ve had so much change. I think they’re going to be better in the long term, but I think in the short term you can make the argument that they’re going to be worse.”
  • Former Sports Illustrated writer Luke Winn will join the Raptors as director of prospect strategy, the team tweeted.

Central Notes: Bradley, Cousins, Cavaliers

There haven’t been many people outside of Detroit praising the Pistons for how they handled their offseason, a Detroit News report claims, but one move that’s gotten recognition is the addition of Avery Bradley.

Bradley joins a Pistons team that got off to a slow start in 2016/17 and never fully recovered. When the club breaks camp this October, they’ll look to Bradley as a featured contributor both on and off the floor. The vaunted perimeter defender will step into what could be the largest offensive role of his career and could even, according to at least one reporter, make a case for an All-Star berth.

The report draws attention to a recent feature from CBS’ Brad Botkin. In the piece, Botkin compiled a list of five under-the-radar NBA moves from the summer and thinks that the 26-year-old entering into a contract year could be a major upgrade for the Pistons over the outgoing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • In his list of five under-the-radar offseason moves, CBS’ Brad Botkin writes that the Cavaliers will get a perimeter defender, the likes of which they lacked last season, in recently acquired forward Jae Crowder.
  • The Cavaliers will remain contenders following the Kyrie Irving trade but uncertainty abounds for the franchise. Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com dredges up some of the instabilities that the organization will have to address in the coming months.
  • We’ve written about how the Pelicans have at least a passing interest in Iman Shumpert. Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype has taken things one step further, amalgamating various hypothetical deals that could unfold between the Pels and Cavaliers. It’s unlikely that a Shumpert trade would escalate to the point of DeMarcus Cousins and the Brooklyn first-rounder changing hands but there’s at least some merit to the speculation.

Cavaliers Notes: Thomas, Crowder, Calderon, Draft Picks

New Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas will begin working with doctors and the team’s training staff on Tuesday, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Thomas, whose lingering hip injury held up his trade from the Celtics for more than a week, says he is “fully committed” to playing for the Cavs this season. Several sources told Vardon that the team will take Thomas’ return to the court slowly, but he is expected to return to an All-Star level at some point.

Dr. James Rosneck, a hip specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, will oversee Thomas’ rehab work with help from orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Parker, who serves as the Cavaliers’ lead doctor. The team plans to gauge how Thomas responds after a week and then a month of the process before creating a timetable for his return. He suffered a partially torn labrum in his right hip in a March game, then aggravated the injury in the Eastern Conference Finals.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • A source with experience in similar hip problems suggests Thomas may not be able to play until January or possibly after the All-Star break, relays Jason Lloyd of the Athletic. Lloyd notes that the injury hasn’t healed enough for Thomas to begin running.
  • Jae Crowder plays the same position as LeBron James, but the Cavs don’t view him as a backup, Vardon adds in the same story. Coach Tyronn Lue is developing lineups with James and Crowder on the court together, assuming the new addition remains in Cleveland. Crowder’s versatility, combined with team-friendly salaries of $6.8MM, $7.3MM and $7.8MM over the next three years, could make him a valuable piece in a future trade.
  • Free agent addition Jose Calderon started working out in Cleveland more than a week ago, Vardon notes. The 36-year-old could be facing an increased role as the primary backup to Derrick Rose if Thomas is out for several months.
  • It didn’t take long for the Cavs to get calls about the Nets’ unprotected first-rounder for next year, Vardon shares in the same piece. With its own pick as another possible trade chip and several second-rounders and trade exceptions available, the Cavaliers’ front office believes the team is in good position to deal for another title chase or for a rebuild if James leaves in free agency next summer.

Central Notes: Osman, Payne, Crowder

The Cavaliers are in win now mode, in case you haven’t heard, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t still have a handful of young players who will be hard at work this season trying to carve out long-term roles for themselves.

Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report recently broke down some of the team’s young talent, including draft-and-stash prospect Cedi Osman who signed with the Cavaliers ready to suit up for 2017/18. Likened to a 6’8″ Matthew Dellavedova, Osman could hustle his way into a role in Cleveland’s rotation.

The feature also sheds light on big men Edy Tavares and Ante Zizic. The former, he writes, could be the first cut should the Cavaliers need to free up a roster spot. Zizic, on the other hand, could establish himself as a high-motor rebounder in the mold of Steven Adams.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls may have changed their outlook on Cameron Payne‘s role with the franchise, and not for the better. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times writes that one source close to the team seemed particularly bearish. “We knew the second practice [after he was acquired] that he couldn’t play at [an NBA] level,” the source told Cowley. “The only reason it took two practices was because we thought maybe it was nerves in the first one.”
  • The Bulls have named Shawn Respert their new Director of Player Development among various other executive-level changes, a press release on the team’s official site states.
  • While Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas were the big names trading places, the fate of the blockbuster trade between the Cavaliers and Celtics could come down to how well Jae Crowder fares in Cleveland, Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders writes.

Cavs Notes: Irving Trade, LeBron, Crowder, IT

The Cavaliers and Celtics were able to complete the Kyrie Irving trade before Thursday morning’s deadline after Boston agreed to send an additional pick to Cleveland. While Boston did well to draw the line at a future second-round pick, it’s not a great look for the Cavs, who let the saga play out very publicly for more than a week before settling for a 2020 selection that may not even fall in the top 45.

Although the move represents the first major trade completed by new Cavs GM Koby Altman, it was team owner Dan Gilbert who was calling the shots on the deal, multiple sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who says that Gilbert’s “fingerprints were all over” this week’s drama. The Cavs owner, who publicly questioned the Pacers for their return in the Paul George deal, was very aware of the public perception of the Cavs’ return for Irving, O’Connor adds.

According to O’Connor, the Nets‘ first-round pick and Jae Crowder were the assets the Cavs management valued most in the swap, but LeBron James and head coach Tyronn Lue cooled somewhat on the trade when they learned that Isaiah Thomas could miss part of the 2017/18 season. The front office had sold James and Lue on the deal by making the case that Thomas and Crowder could help the club contend immediately, so Thomas’ health was a major concern, even if he wasn’t necessarily the centerpiece of the deal.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • While O’Connor suggests in his piece that the Cavs are preparing for the possibility of LeBron signing elsewhere in 2018, we can count Kevin Durant among those who don’t believe the King will leave Cleveland again. As Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com details, Durant told Bill Simmons on his podcast this week that he can see James remaining with the Cavs for the rest of his career.
  • With the Irving deal done, former Cavs GM David Griffin, who was replaced this offseason by Altman, can envision the Cavs making another move before the trade deadline, as he said on NBA TV (h/t Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com). “One of the real blessings of this is Koby and his team don’t need to be done (trading) at this point,” Griffin said. “They can continue to try to build the team. The value-to-production of Jae Crowder and his contract are incredible. As you move closer to the trade deadline, the assets they’ve acquired may be able to be put to work again in continuing to improve the team. I think they clearly wanted to get some sustainability so that lottery pick was really important because in the absence of LeBron that’s the piece that helps them rebuild rather quickly.”
  • Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com takes a closer look at where the Cavs stand now that the Irving era is officially over in Cleveland, and wonders whether the deal will end up helping or hurting the club’s quest for a second title in the last three years.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Celtics, Cavs Complete Kyrie Irving Trade

The Celtics and Cavaliers have reached an agreement that will end the week-long hold-up of the Kyrie Irving deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). In addition to the previously agreed upon bountyIsaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick—Boston will also send a 2020 second-round pick to Cleveland."<strong

The additional pick on the move is Miami’s 2020 selection. Boston received the pick back in 2015 when the Heat attached it to Zoran Dragic in order to move his salary.

The two sides had an agreement in place eight days ago, but Cleveland had concerns over Isaiah Thomas‘ hip after examining the point guard during the routine post-trade physical. After the discovery, the Cavs re-engaged with Boston in the hopes of receiving either a young prospect or a future first-rounder on top of the players in the original offer, suggesting that the Celtics understated the scope of Thomas’ injury. However, Boston was firm on not giving up anything more than the second-rounder in the deal.

It was reported earlier today that there’s at least a slight chance that Thomas misses the entire 2017/18 season if his recovery doesn’t progress as smoothly as hoped. How IT heals and returns from his hip injury will be a major developing story as the season progresses for a bevy of reasons. The point guard can become a free agent at the end of the campaign. So can LeBron James. Both the team and James would certainly like to evaluate how Thomas fits alongside the four-time MVP before any future decisions are made.

For the Celtics, another excellent offseason seemingly concludes. A year after signing Al Horford to a four-year deal, the team made several additions that should help in both the short- and long-term. Boston landed the No. 1 pick in the lottery and dealt it to the Sixers for the pick that became Jayson Tatum – one of the most pro-ready prospects from the 2017 draft – and an additional future first-rounder. The franchise also agreed to terms with Gordon Hayward before trading for Marcus Morris.

Adding Irving to the mix only solidifies the Celtics as a true contender in the Eastern Conference. The C’s bested Cleveland and the rest of their conference rivals with 53 wins last season, though they were dispatched handily by the Cavs in the Eastern Finals as they watched an LBJ-led team dance into the NBA Finals for a seventh straight season.

The last team to win the East without LeBron? The 2009/10 Celtics. That squad, which was led by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, beat James’ Cavaliers in the King’s last game before moving to Miami before reaching the NBA Finals. Boston will again look to get by James in 2017/18 in the hopes of landing the Eastern Conference crown and this time, the Larry O’Brien Trophy as well.

The Cavs and Celtics play each other in the league’s first game of the 2017/18 season. There’s plenty of time to get your popcorn ready for the October 17 showdown and the upcoming season.

Photo Courtesy of USA Today Images

Latest On Kyrie Irving Trade

The biggest trade of the NBA offseason remains in flux, as the Cavaliers determine what their next move is after conducting a physical exam on Isaiah Thomas‘ troublesome hip. According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), the two teams have until 9:00am central time on Thursday to finalize an agreement on the trade, though they could agree to extend that deadline.

As Kyler explains (Twitter links), the concern from the Cavaliers’ side appears to stem from the Celtics‘ assessment of Thomas’ hip. Boston believed that the veteran point guard wouldn’t require surgery on his hip, but Cavs doctors aren’t as certain about that diagnosis, which is why Cleveland is believed to be seeking further compensation. Still, as of Sunday, the Cavs hadn’t formally asked the C’s for more pieces, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the mega-deal as we wait to see if it becomes fully official:

  • If the Cavaliers fear that Thomas will miss a chunk of the 2017/18 season due to the hip injury, acquiring another asset that could help them improve their point guard depth figures to be a priority, tweets Kyler. Kyler suggests (via Twitter) that adding Terry Rozier to the Irving deal could be one option, but notes that adding another draft pick would also make sense, since that pick could potentially be attached to Iman Shumpert in a separate trade.
  • Speaking of Shumpert, the Cavs are still looking to trade him, writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Pluto adds that there’s still not much interest in Shumpert, who will be difficult to move, though Kyler tweets that teams like the Rockets, Mavericks, and Bulls have expressed some interest — it’s not clear if those teams are all still viable trade partners for Cleveland.
  • Both teams have plenty to lose if they were to void this trade, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, who expects the Celtics and Cavs to find a way to get it done, even if one team is a bit less happy about the outcome. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com also presents five reasons why the deal will eventually be completed.
  • At least one player involved in the trade apparently anticipates it being finalized. As Vardon details in a Cleveland.com article, Jae Crowder has been photographed wearing Cavaliers gear. Vardon adds (via Twitter) that Crowder took his physical with the Cavs last week and is looking forward to playing for the franchise.

Cavs, Celtics Swap Kyrie Irving For Package Including Isaiah Thomas

9:39pm: The trade is official, the Cavs confirmed in a press release. The Celtics also issued an announcement confirming the deal.Kyrie Irving vertical

6:23pm: The Celtics and Cavaliers have reached an agreement on a deal that will send Irving to Boston in exchange for a package headlined by Thomas, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). Brian Windhorst of ESPN first reported (via Twitter) that the two teams were on the verge of a deal.

According to both Charania and Windhorst, the Cavs will receive Crowder, Zizic, and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick (unprotected) in addition to Thomas. Charania also tweets that Irving will waive his trade kicker so that the deal can be completed. Here is Charania’s full story.

5:47pm: Boston center Ante Zizic is also expected to be part of a potential deal with Cleveland for Irving, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (Twitter link) that receiving Thomas, Crowder, and Zizic for Irving would save the Cavs $19MM in taxes. The team’s projected tax bill would lower from $78.4MM to $59.2MM.

5:30pm: The Cavaliers and Celtics are actively discussing trades centered around Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski adds that the two sides are discussing the inclusion of Jae Crowder as well as the addition of future draft picks heading from Boston to Cleveland.

Irving requested a trade from Cleveland last month and included a short list of destination which he would prefer to be dealt to should the team honor his request. Boston was not on that list, but all of the teams—Spurs, Heat, Wolves, and Knicks—with the exception of New York have strong coaching structures in place. The Celtics also have that element with Brad Stevens running the show, so it’s possible Irving would be open to a trade to the New England area.

Of course, Irving does not wield a no-trade clause, meaning the Cavs could ostensibly deal him anywhere they prefer. However, it was previously reported that the team was working with Irving to find a solution that worked for both sides.

Thomas is entering the last season of his contract, one that will pay him just over $6.26MM for the 2017/18 campaign. He should see a massive raise with his next contract, possibly approaching the max, which is something that could negatively impact his trade value.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Celtics Notes: Crowder, Morris, Thomas

The Celtics landed Gordon Hayward and Marcus Morris this week but the reigning Eastern Conference No. 1 seed isn’t comfortable yet.

Per a CSN New England report, president Danny Ainge is searching for further moves that can improve their roster this offseason. It’s just a matter of figuring out what those moves might look like.

Initially the report speculated that Ainge could be targeting rebounding, something the Celtics lacked in 2016/17, but the executive noted that he feels young forwards Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum could help in that regard.

Another area that Boston could address is their backup point guard position. That said, the team president also mentioned that he was currently impressed with backup point guard Terry Rozier.

There’s more from Beantown:

  • The Celtics have no intention of trading Jae Crowder, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets. The forward had been floated as a possible component of a sign-and-trade deal to bring Gordon Hayward to Boston prior to the Avery Bradley deal.
  • Veteran point guard Isaiah Thomas told CSN New England’s A. Sherrod Blakely that he believes he’s a max contract guy and that the Celtics are aware that they’ll need to bring the Brinks trucks out to retain his services when he becomes a free agent next summer.
  • Newly added Celtics forward Marcus Morris comes with legal baggage and a CSN New England report breaks down the pending trial that will begin on August 21.
  • The Celtics wouldn’t have had enough Brinks trucks to retain both Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas, Chris Forsberg of ESPN writes, a harsh reality that led to the trade that sent Bradley to the Pistons.
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