Looking back, Jae Crowder thought he was going to be a member of the Dallas Mavericks for a long, long time.
Then, on Dec. 18, 2014, the Mavericks surprisingly traded Crowder, Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, a first-round pick, a second-round pick and a $12.9 million trade exception to the Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell. The trade still stings a bit for Crowder, who has developed into one of the best players on the Celtics’ roster.
Crowder and the Celtics (35-19) face the Mavericks (22-32) Monday night at 7:30 at American Airlines Center.
“Yeah, I want to get a win, for sure,’’ Crowder said. “It’s always fun to be back, but it’s nothing like getting a win.
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“I’ve never gotten a win here (as a member of the Celtics). I’ve played once already, but I didn’t get a win – it went into overtime last year – so I’d like to get a win this year.’’
Crowder was a second-round pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2012 NBA Draft and was immediately traded to the Mavericks in a draft-day trade. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Crowder was known for his all-out hustle and ability to play every position on the perimeter.
“He was a terrific young player when we had him,’’ Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “We were all very sorry to see him go, but the rise in his career is certainly no surprise to any of us.’’
Carlisle describes Crowder as a player who gave his team “toughness, play-making ability, defense, shot-making,’’ and was sort of a renaissance man.
“He’s one of those rare wing men who can do a little bit of everything,’’ Carlisle said. “He was actually one of our backup point guards if we had gotten into a real pinch at the point position.
“He’s done great, he’s a big part of who they are as a team and we wish him the best.’’
Crowder missed the past two games while dealing with a family issue, but kept tabs with the Celtics.
“I was gone two games, but it felt like two weeks,’’ Crowder said. “Just being away from the guys, they took care of business while I was gone, and that’s a good thing.
“I had to take care of a little bit of family business, but it’s good to be back.’’
And good, Crowder said, to be back in familiar surroundings.
“I always (like) coming to this place where they gave me a chance first,’’ Crowder said. “Good energy, a lot of familiar faces that I know, good people, good friends, so it’s good to be back.’’
While the Celtics have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, Crowder has noticed that the Mavericks have picked up the pace a bit lately.
“They had a rough start, but they have been playing very good as of late,’’ he said. “We know we have to come in here and take of business, because they’re not going to lay down.’’
Crowder’s hustle was part of why he was so popular with the Mavericks.
“He gave us two-and-a-half, three years, of really hard basketball,’’ Carlisle said. “Everybody here loved him, our fans, everybody in the organization.
“He’s a terrific kid.’’