NBA Rumors: Milwaukee Bucks expected to retain free agent Jae Crowder

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 24 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 24 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

After spending the final portion of the 2022-23 season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Jae Crowder is set to hit free agency.

With the veteran forward primarily spending the postseason primarily on the sidelines, fans have debated whether or not the team should bring him back or not. Well, it looks like the front office is high on the veteran, as NBA insider Marc Stein (subscription required) has reported that the Bucks are “increasingly expected” to re-sign Crowder once NBA free agency kicks off.

NBA Rumors: Milwaukee Bucks expected to retain free agent Jae Crowder

Following the Bucks’ pursuit of Crowder that lasted for months, this news isn’t overly surprising at all. Milwaukee liked Crowder so much that they eventually coughed up five second round picks to acquire him at the deadline. It makes sense that they’d want to re-sign a player they gave up a good amount of their tradeable assets for. Crowder wasn’t perfect for the Bucks, as he struggled in the playoffs to an extent, but he was coming off an injury and months of not playing basketball. With a legitimate off-season on a team under his belt, perhaps he could be better next season.

The bigger question here was whether or not Crowder would entertain re-signing with the Bucks after his role was nonexistent in the playoffs. Perhaps the firing of Mike Budenholzer, who placed Crowder out of the rotation, has warmed him up to the idea of staying. Since he landed in the 414, the forward has also repeatedly expressed his love for the area, having played his college years at Marquette, so that may also be a key element. Lastly, the Bucks also hold Crowder’s Bird rights, so they can offer him a nice little deal to stick around if he so desires, which it seems like he does.

At 32 years old, Crowder still has plenty of good basketball left to play, despite the limited tape he put out last season. The Bucks have been hunting wing defenders for several years now, and they have one here in Crowder, so it makes sense to keep him. Letting Crowder go would put them right back at square one, especially if they lose Wesley Matthews in free agency. In a league that is very quickly becoming dominated by wings, the Bucks need to stock up on depth there, especially with a household name like Crowder.

Analyzing their 2023 NBA Draft haul, it is clear that the Bucks wanted to stock up on their wing depth. While those pieces will help, it does not hurt to have a veteran in the room. Crowder could even mentor some of the young pieces like Andre Jackson Jr. and Chris Livingston if he does return. Some might not want Crowder eating away minutes from the younger guys, but really, a team can certainly never have too many rotational wings in today’s game.

Nothing is set in stone, but it looks like Crowder is leaning toward a return to Milwaukee next year.

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Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis and rumors this NBA off-season.