As reported by multiple outlets earlier this week, the Cavaliers are rumored to have interest in reacquiring veteran swingman Jae Crowder to beef up the 2022-23 roster.
On Wednesday, Donnie Druin from Inside the Suns mentioned that it’s “evident Crowder and the Suns are about to split for good,” and a handful of teams are already vying for the 33-year old journeyman.
Crowder, having played for seven teams throughout his decade-long stint in the NBA, has spent the last two seasons out west with Phoenix. Among other stops for the rugged 6-foot-6, 235-pounder include Cleveland during most of the 2017 campaign (LeBron’s last). He appeared in 53 games, starting 47, before getting dealt to Utah one day before the trade deadline.
Most recently, Crowder averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds while playing roughly 28 minutes per game for the Suns. He has one year remaining on his three-year contract and is slated to make just over $10 million this coming season.
This would be a very interesting move for the Cavs, who would likely end up giving away someone like Cedi Osman ($7.4 million salary) and another player to get numbers in the same ballpark. Pairing Osman with a Dylan Windler ($4 million) or Dean Wade ($1.9 million) would seem about right.
Cleveland was one of the youngest teams in the NBA last year with an average age of 25. Veterans like Kevin Love (34), Robin Lopez (34) and Ricky Rubio (31) surely contribute experience and maturity, but the addition of Crowder brings a different level of toughness. His tenacious mentality has made him one of the most sought after “3 and D” players in the entire league.
From a lineup standpoint, his skillset adds prime defensive relief/support as another “stopper” alongside the evolving Isaac Okoro. As a duo, they would certainly combine attributes needed to limit a star-studded group of small forwards in the East – Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Jimmy Butler, James Harden, DeMar Derozan, Bradley Beal, etc.
Crowder seems to always find himself on playoff teams and has 107 postseason games under his belt. It’s no mistake that teams looking to make noise come May find a route to acquire the Marquette product.
Crowder has averaged anywhere from 25-28 minutes per game over the last seven years. There may not be that many to go around for role players in Cleveland this coming year, but that may be the perfect setup for a 33-year old who would be asked to do a lot when on the court...
Depending on the lineup or how deep J.B. Bickerstaff can get the rotation, something like 18 minutes seems appropriate. Osman averaged 22 last year and Wade provided 19.2 during his stretches.
I think Crowder’s services would be greatly welcomed, both on the court and in the locker room, for a Cavs team striving to hit the next level.
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