Jae Crowder is returning to Boston. The free agent forward has agreed to terms on a five-year, $35 million dollar deal with the Celtics, according to Shams Charania of Real GM.
Crowder arrived in Boston as part of the Celtics' mid-season trade of Rajon Rondo and fit in immediately. He's a tough, gritty defender who stays within himself, limiting his offensive game to open jump shots and layups. While he suffered a knee injury in Boston's final playoff game, he is expected to be ready for the beginning of the season and every indication from the Celtics is that they would re-sign him to a multi-year deal.
The trade was great for Crowder, who was receiving diminishing playing time with the Mavericks. Dallas had signed Al-Farouq Aminu in the offseason and for their purposes, Aminu did exactly what Crowder did, only better. Crowder's only 25 and addition to the defense -- manifesting itself not in blocks, steals or extreme athleticism, but in smart play and never being out of position -- he improved his rebounding in Boston. However, his shooting hasn't picked up and even declined after the trade, when he made only 29 percent of his three-point shots.
Crowder missed only eight games in his two full seasons in Dallas, so besides this fluke injury, health is not a real concern for the forward from Marquette. The Mavericks played Crowder both as a small forward and a smallball 4 (the position he mostly played in college), so he provides some flexibility for coaches when he's on the floor.
Boston could hardly stop raving about what Crowder brought in toughness and intangibles. It only makes sense that they'd bring him back and reward him with his best contract to date, too. Crowder may never be a full-time starter, but he was a valuable part of their rotation last year and that's sure to continue being the case moving forward.