Crowder and the Celtics proving to a great match


BOSTON -- When Jae Crowder was first traded to the Celtics, it was hard for him to see the opportunity at hand.

He came over from Dallas, which at the time was one of the better teams in the league. The Celtics? Not so much. People still wondered if they were tanking midway through the season.

That didn't sit well with Crowder, who, despite having a small role off the bench in Dallas, was all about winning.

But the more Crowder got to know the organization, and the more time he got on the court, the more he started to come around on Boston. By the end of the season, it was the place he wanted to play most.

That explains the five-year, $35 million deal he signed with the Celtics over the offseason.

Crowder did his homework before signing that deal. He didn't just talk to Danny Ainge, but to everybody he could find in the organization. He wanted to make sure that Ainge and the rest of the front office were in the business of building winners.

"I wanted to know everything," Crowder said. "What’s the direction? You ask everybody. You ask questions, so that’s what I did.

"I think that was the biggest thing for me, because I’m a winner," Crowder said. "When I first came here and we were -- you guys were saying, ‘Tanking’ -- it was bad. I didn’t want to be a part of it, selfishly. Because I don’t like losing. I had to ask. I had to ask our direction moving forward. And [Ainge] responded well, as you can see. I’m pleased with the guys that we brought in and the guys we picked up. And the moves we’re still trying to make."

Fans took a liking to Crowder from the beginning. Hustle, energy, and emotion on the court are all things that will get you on Bostonians' good side - and Crowder has all of that.

And the feeling is mutual, as Crowder's perception of Celtics Nation did a 180-degree turn once the shock of being traded wore off.

"I thought I knew what I was supposed to expect, but when I got here it was totally different," Crowder said. "I think it was a down year earlier when I first got here. Just to see fans still in the seat and still cheering and still behind the team, I knew this was a place I'd want to play for a long time. It was everything I envisioned and more, I can say that. Walking in here and feeling the pride that everybody has from GMs to coaches to the city, it's just what a player wants to be a part of. That's what I want to be a part of. It's an amazing feeling."

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