NBA Rumor: Jae Crowder Free Agency

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Miami has interest in re-signing Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder, but the Heat won’t do anything that jeopardizes their chances with Antetokounmpo. (The list of such things might include asking Bam Adebayo to wait until next offseason to sign his new contract — a way of maximizing cap space for Antetokounmpo. Adebayo and Antetokounmpo share an agent — Alex Saratsis of Octagon. This is tricky stuff, but I assume everyone will communicate what they need to communicate.)

“My pre-draft workouts, and everything, my agent, he lives in Boca,” the 30-year-old veteran said. “So I stayed in Florida, I stayed in Miami. At the time I was training, I was training in Miami. So I would travel to these cities, where home for me was Miami, because I wanted to be close to my agent and my dad lived in Florida, at the time, as well.” Crowder’s agent is Boca Raton-based Glenn Schwartzman. His father is former NBA player Corey Crowder.

Having his father a short drive away, in Fort Myers, also could play in the Heat’s favor in free agency. “Me and my father speak every day,” Crowder said. “If it wasn’t for him, there’s wouldn’t be a Jae Crowder in the NBA, honest to God’s truth. It’s no if and or buts about it. He helped me lock in mentally and he helped me diagnose the game mentally. He really molded me into who I am today as a basketball player and how I approached the game and my outlook on the game.”

It will be the market, likely even more than heartstrings for the Heat, that will decide whether the Heat have to punt on 2021 cap space or punt on those players. For example, if retaining Crowder becomes an issue, there are viable Plan Bs out there. One, for example, could be Paul Millsap, if the 35-year-old veteran gets squeezed out by the Nuggets going all-in with Jerami Grant’s free agency and the preference to develop Michal Porter Jr.

For Crowder, who emerged as a Heat playoff starter and contributor on both ends of the floor, it is a particularly complex equation. At 30, the veteran forward would prefer to take the long view in his negotiations, at a time when the Heat are expected to prefer offering one-year deals. “Obviously, I want security,” he told the Sun Sentinel. “The league is an up-and-down league. You never know. I’ve been a part of trades, so I know about security.”

Crowder, who made $7.8 this season, is someone the Heat could consider signing for more than one season if they were impressed enough with his contributions. He is an example of a player other teams such as the Warriors might pursue and offer a multi-year deal if the Heat does not. “We’ll have to see how the organization feels about my future here,” he said. “And I understand it’s a business, but hopefully we can come together and make both parties happy and continue to grow. I definitely want to be here. There’s no question about that.”

With their eyes set on 2021 maximum cap space, they are unlikely to offer free-agent targets more than a one-year deal. One player they can target with all their cap space is Danilo Gallinari, whom they pursued in February. $26.5 million is close to the maximum amount Gallinari can receive in a contract extension. If they can’t sign any of their targets, they could operate over the cap to re-sign free agents like Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder and also have the mid-level exception to use.

Jae Crowder did take a bit of time to see if the grass was greener elsewhere, but he didn’t take long to decide to stick with the capital “G” Green. According to league sources, Dallas and New York were the other main suitors for the 6-foot-7 winger, but after finally finding a team that was willing to play to his strengths, he wasn’t about to leave the Celtics. The restricted free agent’s return was secured with a five-year, $35 million deal.
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