It’s that time of the year again. The Super Bowl is over, winter hits its dreariest part, Marquette is in the middle of the Big East conference schedule, and Jae Crowder is packing his stuff up and moving to a new city after getting traded.
It was announced today by The Athletic’s Shams Charania that former Golden Eagle, Big East Player of the Year, and plutonic ideal of an NBA journeyman Jae Crowder would be dealt from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Miami Heat. This deal saw the two teams exchange Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill, and Crowder for Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, and James Johnson. The Heat will be the sixth team that Crowder will suit up for since he was drafted in 2012. We could say seven because officially he was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Crowder ended up playing 53 games for the Cavs in 2017-18. This season Crowder has averaged 9.9 points per game and 6.2 rebounds on an effective field goal percentage of 46.2% while starting in all 45 games that he appeared in for the Grizzlies.
At the current moment, Crowder is expected to stay in Miami and likely come off the bench, although with the Heat’s interest in Danilo Gallinari of the Oklahoma City Thunder, this situation may still be in flux. As you all surely know, Miami has been a hotspot for former Marquette hoop stars over the past two decades as recently retired Marquette legend Dwayne Wade spent the lion’s share of his career there and noted Marquette graduate Jimmy Butler is currently the best player on their roster (I’ll also count Tyler Herro as an honorary Golden Eagle as he crushed Wisconsin fans hearts and duped many into showing their true colors). Miami has been nice to our former Golden Eagles as Wade won three championships there and cemented his spot as one of the league’s greatest shooting guards ever. Similarly, in his first season in Miami, Jimmy Butler has led the Heat to a 34-16 record so far, good for second place in the Eastern Conference.
There have been rumors that Butler and Crowder do not get along as they had a Twitter spat after a physical game in March of 2018. Such beef seems to either never have existed or has been squashed by October 2018 as Crowder mentioned in an interview how he had a 40-minute FaceTime conversation with Butler and how the Twitter spat was not serious. This doesn’t come as a shock as both are blue-collar tough guys on the court who are not afraid to mix it up and seem to respect people who don’t back down.
As stated earlier, I do not think Crowder will be a starter, nor see starter’s minutes for the Heat. I figure that he’ll end up being okay with this as the Grizzlies are a team that’s hovering around .500 and thus the back end of the Western Conference playoff picture, and Miami is doing much better over in the East. Crowder does still provide solid defense from the wing position, something the Heat need. His 29.3% mark from the three-point line may hamper his minutes as the Heat are already a bit short on floor spacers. If Crowder could regain his career 33.4% three-point shooting form, he could find himself playing big time minutes by playoff season. Overall, this should be a good move for Crowder, he gets to play for a contender again, gets to kick it with his old pal Jimmy Butler, and no longer has to play with noted Marquette destroyer Ja Morant.