Jae Crowder

Central Notes: Weaver, Crowder, White, DeMar

The Pistons are currently mired in a league-worst 17-game losing streak. If Detroit isn’t able to somewhat right this ship, even while clearly headed for the lottery this year, general manager Troy Weaver should be fired so a new front office can thrive, opines Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press.

Windsor writes that the Pistons are currently on a 7.5-game win pace for the rest of the season, which would shatter the current record for a full 82-game NBA slate.

Given that the club will have lots of space under the league’s projected salary cap next summer, through which it could add veterans and make significant transactions to improve, Windsor submits that Weaver should not be in a decision-making role with the Pistons at that juncture — barring some kind of growth this year.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Following a November 14 surgery to correct a partial tear in his left adductor, Bucks reserve forward Jae Crowder is on the mend, having resumed individual on-court work within the last week, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When I touched the ball, I was like, ‘All right, I’m getting close,’” Crowder said. The 33-year-old combo forward was a solid two-way contributor for Milwaukee when healthy this year. In his nine healthy games, he’s logging 8.1 PPG on .532/.416/.583 shooting splits, along with 3.9 RPG, 1.7 APG and 0.8 SPG.
  • Bulls starting point guard Coby White is enjoying an excellent start to the season for a struggling 7-14 Chicago club. His willingness to shoot from distance early and often has played a part in the team’s current two-game mini-win streak, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The 6’5″ guard is averaging 15.0 PPG on .427/.403/.846 shooting splits, 4.2 APG, 3.1 RPG and 0.9 SPG. He’s connecting on a career-best 40.3% of his career-most 7.1 three-pointers per night.
  • Bulls All-Star small forward DeMar DeRozan seems to be rediscovering the passing game that he developed during his three-year stint with the Spurs, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. To wit, he notched a season-most 10 dimes during Chicago’s surprise 124-118 win over the Pelicans on Saturday. “Just being unselfish, pushing the pace,” DeRozan said of his — and the team’s — approach to the victory.

Bucks’ Jae Crowder To Undergo Surgery, Out Eight Weeks

Bucks veteran forward Jae Crowder has a left adductor and abdominal tear and will undergo surgery on Tuesday, according to a team press release relayed by Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link). He’s expected to be sidelined for approximately eight weeks.

Crowder was originally diagnosed with a left groin injury on Saturday during Milwaukee’s game against Orlando. Further testing and evaluation determined the extent of the injury.

Crowder has appeared in all nine of Milwaukee’s games, including two starts, and is averaging 8.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 26.7 minutes per game.

It’s a tough blow for the Bucks, whose depth was depleted by the blockbuster Damian Lillard trade. Crowder’s minutes will likely by absorbed by some combination of Pat Connaughton, MarJon Beauchamp and rookie Andre Jackson Jr.

Crowder re-signed with Milwaukee on a one-year deal in July. Milwaukee shipped out five second-round draft picks to acquire him in a three-team exchange with the Suns and Nets last February.

Bucks Notes: Lillard, Antetokounmpo, Practice, Crowder

Fans will get an opportunity to see Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard share the court as teammates for the first time on Sunday in the preseason, head coach Adrian Griffin said on a recent episode of NBA Today (YouTube link). Milwaukee brought in the 11-year Trail Blazer in a September blockbuster trade, and now he’ll suit up as a Buck for the first time against the Lakers.

The start of the Antetokounmpo-Lillard era in Milwaukee is significant not only for the duo’s star power, but because it also realizes the efforts of the Bucks to remain firmly in the title hunt going forward. Offseason comments from Antetokounmpo caused a vortex of rumors regarding his future with the Bucks. Appearing on the same episode of NBA Today, however, general manager Jon Horst dismissed the notion the organization made the blockbuster move because of them.

Really not at all,” Horst said when asked if Antetokounmpo’s comments fueled their pursuit of Lillard. “I think we’ve done everything we can over the past few years to put the best product we can on the floor with Giannis, for Giannis, for our organization. There’s no doubt we are invested in him and this entire team and we felt like getting Damian Lillard was the best thing for the franchise now and going forward.

The next move for Milwaukee is to secure Antetokounmpo, who has a player option for the 2025/26 season, to a long-term deal. The Bucks, who swung for the fences when they traded for Jrue Holiday in 2020 before winning that year’s championship, are hoping this trade pays off in a similar fashion.

I think it’s important to understand that Giannis and what he says publicly and privately are very much aligned with what we believe as an organization,” Horst said. “It’s not just something recent. We’ve done everything we can every step of the way to put the best team on the floor each and every day, to constantly push the limits and try to compete at the highest level. … We think this trade is the most recent example of that.

We have more from the Bucks:

  • The environment around Bucks practices has been more physical and fired up than in previous years, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Griffin is pushing to have a more aggressive tone and environment in practice, according to Owczarski. “The way we approach training camp and the way we approach practice so far has been incredible because we are literally changing our identity,” Antetokounmpo said. “We’re being a little bit more scrappy. We will help one another. Obviously, we’ve been one of the best defensive teams in the league the last five years, so it’s not that you gotta come here and you change a lot of things, but I feel like, you just got to sharpen the tool, you gotta add more edge to the team.
  • Last season, Bucks forward Jae Crowder began the year by sitting out as a member of the Suns, spending the first four months of the season away from the team before he was traded to Milwaukee at the deadline. This year, Crowder isn’t taking playing time lightly, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. Now, he’s trying to help set the aggressive tone of Milwaukee’s training camp with his mindset. “I’m taking this training camp very seriously this year,” Crowder said. “Obviously, knowing that I missed last year. Just trying to blow it out in the terms of both ends, conditioning and learning-wise. Just trying to learn as much as possible before the real games start. So I’m taking this training camp more seriously than I would in the past few years.
  • Lillard opened up about his first week as a Buck in an interview with Nehm. The seven-time All-Star is seeing plenty he likes with the organization so far. “The discipline that I’ve seen, it’s not just this guy or that guy; it’s like everybody is on top of their stuff,” Lillard said. “And I think collectively that just equals success. I don’t see how it doesn’t. Nobody is like, ‘Look at me.’ Or, ‘Oh, I gotta do this.’ Or, ‘I gotta do that.’ It’s just like everybody is on point with what they have to be doing and it’s like adults, professionalism and people that care about it and take it serious.

Contract Details: Crowder, Grant, Powell, Green, Lewis

Jae Crowder‘s new one-year contract with Milwaukee is for the veteran’s minimum, league sources tell Eric Nehm of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Bucks held Crowder’s Bird rights, so they could have given him any salary up to his maximum. Obviously he was never going to receive anything close to $47.6MM next season, but it’s still interesting that he accepted such a significant pay cut after making $10.2MM in 2022/23.

Crowder just completed his 11th NBA season. As our list of minimum salaries for ’23/24 shows, the 33-year-old will earn about $3.2MM on his new deal, while the Bucks will carry a $2MM cap hit.

Here are more contract details from around the NBA:

  • Jerami Grant received the most lucrative contract in free agency in terms of total value, earning $160MM over five years to stay with the Trail Blazers. The fifth year of Grant’s deal is a player option, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
  • Center Dwight Powell re-signed with the Mavericks as a free agent, inking a three-year, $12MM deal. Similar to Grant, Powell has a player option for the final season, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). Powell reportedly drew interest from Houston, but decided to stay with Dallas.
  • Jeff Green‘s two-year contract with the Rockets features a non-guaranteed team option in 2024/25 and $1.6MM per season in bonuses that are considered likely to be achieved, sources tell Scotto (via Twitter). That means Green’s annual cap hits will be $9.6MM. ESPN’s Bobby Marks was first to report that the original terms of Green’s contract agreement had been amended, with Houston using cap room to sign the veteran forward.
  • The Lakers signed second-rounder Maxwell Lewis to a standard four-year contract using the new second-round pick exception, reports Khobi Price of The Southern California News Group (Twitter link). Lewis will receive guaranteed salaries of $1.1MM as a rookie next season (the minimum) and $1.4MM in ’24/25. Sources tell Price the third year of the contract is partially guaranteed for $100K, while the fourth and final season is a team option.

Jae Crowder Signs One-Year Deal With Bucks

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.

Free Agent Rumors: Lopez, Rockets, DiVincenzo, Warriors, Saric, Mavs, Gordon, FVV, More

Bucks center Brook Lopez is expected to be offered a two-year contract worth approximately $40MM from the Rockets, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reports.

Houston, which has the most cap space this summer, has a meeting lined up with Lopez. The veteran center’s free agent decision is expected to come down to remaining in Milwaukee or joining the Rockets. The Rockets have a 20-year-old center in Alperen Sengun, a 2021 first-rounder, but Lopez could serve as a mentor to Houston’s youthful big men while stabilizing its defense and stretching the floor offensively.

We have more free agent news:

  • Warriors guard Donte DiVincenzo has four meetings lined up on Friday and Saturday, Steve Popper of Newsday tweets. DiVincenzo entered the market when he declined his $4.7MM option. The Knicks, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Pistons, Rockets, Magic, and Bulls have all been mentioned as potential pursuers for DiVincenzo, who could command the full $12.4MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception. The Warriors can only offer a four-year, $23.2MM deal due to cap restrictions since they only held his Non-Bird rights.
  • The Warriors are likely to land unrestricted free agent Dario Saric, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Golden State is looking for a stretch four with a high basketball IQ and solid all-around skills. The 29-year-old Saric would also fit the team’s win-now approach. Saric, who tore his ACL during the 2021 playoffs, appeared in a total of 57 regular-season games with the Suns and Thunder this past season. The Warriors are generally seeking to sign swingmen and frontcourt players who shoot well on veteran’s minimum contracts, ESPN’s Marc J. Spears tweets.
  • Celtics restricted free agent Grant Williams will likely have to be patient to find an interested bidder, according to Fischer. Though the Celtics have acquired Kristaps Porzingis, it’s not out of the question Boston could match an offer sheet for Williams, who reportedly will have difficulty finding an offer above the non-taypayer mid-level exception.
  • The Mavericks has been linked to various wings and forwards, including Williams, Jae Crowder, Eric Gordon, and Malik Beasley, Fischer adds. League executives who have spoken to Yahoo Sports believe Gordon, who will enter the market after the Clippers decided not to guarantee his contract, could command the full mid-level or close to it.
  • Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is meeting with Toronto’s brass at the start of free agency and there’s optimism within the organization they can keep him in the fold, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweets. According to Grange, a four-year deal averaging $30MM might be enough to convince VanVleet, who declined a $22.8MM option in order to enter free agency, to re-sign.

Eastern FA Rumors: Kuzma, Kyrie, Bridges, Crowder, Sixers

Free agent forward Kyle Kuzma is seeking a contract “well above the mid-level exception,” according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, but it’s unclear which cap-room team might give him that sort of offer, especially if the Rockets and Pacers use their space on other players.

As Fischer writes, the Jazz were viewed as a legitimate suitor for Kuzma, but that option is almost certainly off the table following Utah’s deal for John Collins. People around the league have begun to consider it increasingly likely that Kuzma could re-sign with the Wizards, according to Fischer. While the Wizards are in the process of reshaping their roster, they’ll have Kuzma’s Bird rights and could view him as a future tradable asset as long as they don’t overpay him.

Here are more free agent rumors from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Following up on a report stating that Kyrie Irving had the Heat on his list of teams to meet with in free agency, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link) cites a source who says the Heat have no meeting scheduled with the star point guard. Irving will, however, meet with the Rockets, sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Interestingly, Fischer writes that the Hornets “don’t appear to have a straightforward path to re-sign” restricted free agent forward Miles Bridges. According to Fischer, Bridges and his representatives have broached the idea of Charlotte pulling its qualifying offer to make him unrestricted. Based on Fischer’s report, it sounds like Bridges’ camp may not feel confident about its leverage in talks with the Hornets entering the summer. The forward isn’t eligible to be signed-and-traded because he wasn’t on Charlotte’s roster last season.
  • Although Jae Crowder is considered likely to re-sign with the Bucks, the veteran forward has also drawn interest from the Heat, league sources tell Fischer.
  • While the Sixers may be fairly quiet at the start of free agency, it’s possible it won’t take the team long to come to an agreement with restricted free agent Paul Reed, according to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com. The team’s odds of bringing back Georges Niang, Jalen McDaniels, or Shake Milton don’t appear as strong. A source tell Neubeck that Niang may get “a nice chunk of money” from a rival suitor on the first day of free agency. Milton is unlikely to return to Philadelphia, while McDaniels’ free agency could take some time to play out, Neubeck adds.

Stein’s Latest: Middleton, Lopez, Crowder, VanVleet, Harden, Poeltl, Suns, Morris

The Bucks appear to be in a good position to re-sign several of their key free agents, Marc Stein writes at Substack. Stein gets the sense that Khris Middleton‘s return to Milwaukee is “all but assured,” and says Brook Lopez seems to be leaning toward remaining with the Bucks too, despite the fact that he’ll draw interest from rival suitors like the Rockets.

Interestingly, Stein hears that Milwaukee is considered increasingly likely to re-sign forward Jae Crowder as well. A trade deadline acquisition, Crowder had a forgettable postseason, scoring just seven points and missing all six of his 3-point attempts in 41 total minutes of action. However, he was effective in 18 regular season appearances for the Bucks, who gave up several second-round picks to land him.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • After he wrote earlier this week about the Rockets‘ interest in Fred VanVleet, Stein has been told by a “flurry of informants” that Houston is believed to be looking to sign the point guard to a two-year, maximum-salary contract. Such a deal would be worth just shy of $84MM based on the NBA’s latest cap projections.
  • The latest rumblings Stein has heard suggest that James Harden will likely return to the Sixers on a two- or three- year deal and that Jakob Poeltl is expected to re-sign with the Raptors for about $20MM per year, whether or not VanVleet remains in Toronto.
  • Veteran forward Yuta Watanabe and former NBA guard Mike James have been mentioned as potential targets for the Suns as they look to fill out their roster around their stars, says Stein. James, who has spent the past two seasons with AS Monaco, last played in the NBA in Brooklyn in 2021 and is close with Durant.
  • Clippers forward Marcus Morris remains on the trade block after a proposed three-team deal that would have sent him to Washington fell through last week, Stein says.

Suns Notes: Ayton, Landale, Okogie, Craig, Warren, More

If they move Deandre Ayton this offseason, the Suns‘ preference would be to get multiple depth pieces in return rather than simply trading his contract to a cap-room team and acquiring a draft pick or two, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 told Michael Scotto in the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast.

As the Suns look to fill out their roster following the Bradley Beal blockbuster, they’ll also have interest in re-signing free agents like Jock Landale, Josh Okogie, and Torrey Craig, according to Gambadoro, though he says T.J. Warren is expected to be let go. Scotto confirms that Landale and the Suns have mutual interest in a new deal, with Gambadoro suggesting that the team “really” likes having the big man as its backup center.

Gambadoro and Scotto also discussed several other Suns-related topics during the podcast, including Isiah Thomas‘ unofficial role with the franchise, which Chris Paul alluded to in an interview with The New York Times.

As Gambadoro explains, Thomas isn’t going to be brought into the fold officially in a front office position, but he’s a trusted confidant for new owner Mat Ishbia, who will likely continue soliciting Thomas’ input and bouncing ideas off of him. Longtime Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is another Ishbia confidant, Gambadoro adds.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • During the HoopsHype podcast, Gambadoro also discussed the tension that existed between former Suns head coach Monty Williams and players like Jae Crowder and Ayton. “The Jae Crowder situation was all on Monty. He told people he was too difficult to handle and coach. Monty didn’t want Jae. It wasn’t the Suns organization. He didn’t want Jae around,” Gambadoro said. “As far as Deandre Ayton, Monty didn’t want him either. He wanted them to trade him to Indiana for Myles Turner. He didn’t like coaching Ayton. … Monty’s a good coach and a player’s coach, but he’s a player’s coach for the players he likes, but he wasn’t in on Jae and Deandre.”
  • The Suns are counting on having a second-round pick in Thursday’s draft, tweets Gambadoro. It will either be No. 52 – Phoenix’s current selection– or No. 57, if the Suns and Wizards swap late second-rounders as part of the Beal trade.
  • Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported that the Suns – before acquiring Beal – were among the teams to reach out to the Mavericks earlier this offseason to inquire about a possible Kyrie Irving sign-and-trade. However, Gambadoro shot down that report, tweeting that it “never happened.” Either way, with Beal in the fold, an Irving pursuit is definitely off the table.
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic takes a look at what sort of traits the Suns will be looking for as they attempt to fill out their roster on the cheap. The team could use at least one more wing shooter, a big man who can stretch the floor and rebound, and a defensive stopper, writes Rankin.
  • Eugene German, a former Northern Illinois Star who spent last season playing in China, will work out for the Suns on June 28, a source tells Sean Paul of Mountain West Wire (Twitter link).

Central Notes: Pistons’ Lottery Pick, Stewart, Pacers, Crowder

It’s more likely that the Pistons will trade down in the draft than use the No. 5 overall pick to acquire a veteran player, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic. However, all options remain on the table for general manager Troy Weaver and his staff as the draft approaches.

If the Pistons keep the pick, they’ll be looking at five players that they recently worked out, barring some unforeseen development. Brothers Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite), Cam Whitmore (Villanova), Jarace Walker (Houston) and Taylor Hendricks (Central Florida) are the potential targets at that spot, Edwards says.

According to Edwards, Ausar Thompson has fans in the Pistons’ front office, as he’s more of a wing player than his brother, though both provide athleticism and size. Hendricks may seem like a bit of a long shot at that spot but he made a strong impression with the Pistons’ brass, particularly with his shooting, Edwards adds.

We have more Central Division news:

  • In the same piece, Edwards reports that the Pistons have been fielding calls from numerous teams on big man Isaiah Stewart. As previously reported, one of those teams is the Celtics, who are looking to upgrade their frontcourt. Stewart’s defensive versatility and improving perimeter game intrigues many teams around the league. However, he was part of Weaver’s first draft class and it would be surprising if the Pistons moved on from Stewart, says Edwards, adding that it’s more likely the Pistons will sign the 22-year-old big man to a rookie scale extension. It would be the first time since Andre Drummond that a drafted Pistons player has signed a rookie extension with the franchise.
  • The Pacers are looking at two more draft prospects on Monday — forwards Toumani Camara (Dayton) and Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine), Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Lewis is ranked No. 31 on ESPN’s Best Available list and he could be a candidate for either of Indiana’s two late first-round selections (Nos. 26 and No. 29) or early second-rounder (No. 32). Camara is ranked No. 52.
  • The coaching change in Milwaukee might alter the equation, but Jae Crowder‘s future with the Bucks is cloudy at best, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Crowder will be an unrestricted free agent unless he agrees to an extension before free agency begins. Crowder has been searching for a big payday — a big reason why he sought a trade from Phoenix — and he probably won’t get that from Milwaukee.