Crowder price tag may be higher than anticipated


BOSTON – The Boston Celtics were one of the more active teams on the first day of free agency as they landed both free agent Amir Johnson (two years, $24 million) along with re-signing Jonas Jerebko (two years, $10 million).

Up next?

Jae Crowder.

The restricted free agent has said on more than one occasion that he would like to sign a long-term deal with the Celtics, and the feeling has apparently been mutual based on all that Danny Ainge and the Celtics’ brass have said.

Crowder told that the first day of free agency was “a little busy” for him, adding, “but it’s alright.”

Boston is indeed the front-runner for Crowder, but his former team – the Dallas Mavericks – are also in the hunt.

Because Crowder is a restricted free agent, Boston has the right to match any offer Crowder receives.

And that price tag will probably be higher than anticipated heading into free agency based on some of the deals that have been agreed upon.

Former Mavericks forward Al-Farouq Aminu agreed to a four-year, $30 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers shortly upon the start of free agency.

Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal with Toronto and Khris Middleton re-upped with Milwaukee (four years, $60 million).

And yes, Crowder is well aware of the lucrative deals that teams have doled out on the first day.

“I feel pretty good,” Crowder said, referring to free agency in general. “Trying to take it all in.”

As far as the kind of salary Crowder will land, Boston’s deals with Johnson and Jerebko might provide the salary range the 6-foot-6 Crowder might be in line for.

The Celtics acquired Crowder from Dallas in a December trade headlined by Rajon Rondo.

A seldom-used reserve with the Mavericks, Crowder thrived in his utility-knife like role with Boston while posting career highs in just about every statistical category.

But what endeared him most to his new team and this fan base, was the gritty, physical brand of basketball he played with that was among the many keys to Boston’s late-season surge which catapulted them into the playoffs.

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