Jae Crowder – Milwaukee Bucks
The Jae Crowder experiment was nothing short of strange. After pursuing the forward via trade for months, the Bucks finally got him but failed to truly utilize him down the stretch. Following a quick playoff run where he primarily sat on the bench, many think Crowder will head elsewhere once he hits free agency. However, that may not be an open and shut case.
First off, the Bucks have Crowder’s Bird rights, so they can offer him a nice little deal right out of the gates in free agency. Good wing defenders are not easy to get in today’s NBA, and while the veteran might not be the player he once was, Crowder could still help this team. His tenure last year was hindered by a calf injury and the fact that he was ramping up his conditioning after he sat out for the entire season before landing in Milwaukee. With a legitimate off-season under his belt and no sitting out period, he could be better prepared for next season.
Two potential reasons Crowder might not bolt out the door in free agency are the location and the new coaching regime. Since landing in Milwaukee, Crowder has been vocal about his love for the city, as he played his collegiate basketball for Marquette; this place clearly has a special meaning to him. As for the coaching staff, Crowder may feel better about coming back with Adrian Griffin at the helm, as Mike Budenholzer, who is now gone, had opted not to play him in the playoffs.
It would not be too surprising if Crowder signed a short-term deal with the Bucks to try and get his value up to earn a bigger payday down the line.