After a bit of shenanigans, Gordon Hayward agreed to leave the Utah Jazz and join the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. There’s only one problem: The Celtics don’t actually have the cap space to afford Hayward’s contract at this exact moment. This means that Boston is going to have to make a trade in order to fit the Butler University product into the roster.
This is all preamble to get around to the point that it seems very likely that former Marquette Golden Eagles star and 2012 Big East Player of the Year Jae Crowder will be a part of whatever trade the Celtics make.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski are reporting that Crowder is one of three current Boston players, along with Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, that the Celtics are “aggressively” looking to move out of town. Part of those discussions have included a sign-and-trade deal with Hayward signing and getting moved to Boston and Crowder going to Utah, but ultimately that deal comes down to whether or not Hayward would be willing to participate in that trade. He is a free agent, and thus has no official or legal responsibility to help the Jazz out here.
The deal with the Jazz may hinge on Utah’s willingness to give up more than just Hayward in the deal. The Boston Herald is reporting that Boston feels they need to get more in return for Crowder than just Hayward, but I don’t know why Utah would be willing to part with additional players or future draft picks just to get something in return for Hayward leaving. If anything, you’d think that Utah would be the team looking to get more in return for Hayward.
In the current NBA pay environment, where J.J. Redick is worth $23 million for one season, Jae Crowder is a tremendous value. He’s under contract for the next three seasons, and even with incremental increases in value, Crowder is still going to be making less than $8 million in 2019-2020. Crowder averaged 13.9 points and career bests in rebounds (5.8) and assists (2.2) to help the Celtics earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference this past season. He also shot a career best 39.8% on three-pointers, attempting (wait for it) a career high 5.5 per game. Marquette fans are well aware of Crowder’s defensive versatility and hard working mentality, and that just adds to his value.
This is a developing story, of course, so keep your eyes and ears open all day today as the Celtics and Jazz attempt to resolve this. Oh, and it’s Jae Crowder’s 27th birthday today, too.