Days after it was finalized, small forward Jae Crowder finally discussed the trade that shipped him and Boston Celtics teammate Isaiah Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving. According to Crowder, he was not surprised by the move, saying he expected it since the Celtics drafted Jayson Tatum as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Crowder added that he knew that his fate with the Celtics was sealed when the team signed free-agent small forward Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $128 million contract.

“I had a little concern because we had a lot of wing players stacked up.

I was a little concerned, and I made it clear to the organization that I was concerned about it, and I just wanted some more direction,” Crowder said. Crowder said he got a reply from the Celtics front office when it was announced that he will be traded to the Cavaliers along with Thomas, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round selection. “They gave me what they wanted to do. They showed me what they wanted to do. I respected it,” said Crowder, who signed a five-year, $35 million deal with the Celtics in 2015. With the move, Crowder will return to the team that drafted him 34th overall in 2012. The Cavaliers then traded him to the Dallas Mavericks on Draft Day for Tyler Zeller and Kelenna Azubuike.

Crowder trade happened minutes before mother died

Crowder said he was in the hospital with his mother, Helen Thompson when Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge called to inform him he was traded to the Cavaliers. Crowder said he told his mother that he was traded to the Cavaliers. “Five minutes later she passed,” said Crowder.

Thompson died of cancer at age 51. However, Crowder said that from a basketball standpoint, moving to the Cavalier will be a blessing, saying he now has a chance to win an NBA title. He also thanked the Celtics for giving him the opportunity to start and the chance to earn $35 million while playing the game he loves.

Cavaliers welcome Crowder addition

Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman called Crowder a core piece of the team moving forward, saying he can contribute heavily to the team at a high level, especially on defense. Coach Tyronn Lue said Crowder is a welcome addition to a team with his defense, toughness and his outside shooting. Crowder is expected to play off the bench behind LeBron James. Last season, Crowder averaged 13.9 points, 5.8 boards, and 2.2 assists in 72 games started.