Utah Jazz: Who won the Jae Crowder trade nearly 2 years ago?

Jae Crowder, Utah Jazz. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Jae Crowder, Utah Jazz. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Utah Jazz acquired Jae Crowder almost two years ago at the trade deadline. Who came out as the winner of that deal?

With trade season heating up, let’s revisit a deal the Utah Jazz made two seasons ago. It was February of 2018 and Utah was on quite the tear.

They had just beaten the Memphis Grizzlies on the end of a four game road trip, and were winners of seven straight. Why would a team so hot need to make a trade midseason?

Let’s back it up a bit. That previous summer the team had failed to retain their home grown star Gordon Hayward. After a breakthrough year of making the playoffs and having an All-Star for the first time in five-plus years, Hayward exercised his player option and signed with the Boston Celtics.

Utah wasn’t devastated from the loss like small market teams normally are when their star player bolts. They had already hit on steals in the draft with budding stars Rudy Gobert (drafted 27th overall in 2013) and Rodney Hood (drafted 23rd overall in 2014), and they brought in Ricky Rubio to be their floor general.

Hood was presumably the replacement for Hayward’s 20 points per game, but what the Jazz didn’t know was they already had an even better replacement waiting in the wings. Before Hayward could bolt town the Jazz traded up to draft Donovan Mitchell with the 13th pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

Mitchell wasn’t supposed to be “the guy” to carry the torch after Hayward. Our go-to scorer was supposed to be Hood and Donovan would have ideally provided some solid minutes off the bench with his good defense and athleticism.

Just ten days after his rookie debut, Mitchell had his first 20 point game, and followed it up with back-to-back 20 point games less than a week later. In his 12th game as a pro Quin Snyder would permanently put Spyda Mitchell in the starting lineup where he began his ascent as an NBA star.

That made things awkward between the Jazz and Hood. When the Jazz started that long winning streak in February, Hood was injured and didn’t play in the first four wins. He had a big pay day looming via restricted free agency, and Utah was content with Mitchell as their franchise 2-guard.

This led Dennis Lindsey to make a move at the trade deadline involving three teams.

Utah received Jae Crowder as a wing that fit their future plans better than Rodney Hood and the aging Joe Johnson. The Sacramento Kings acquired some assets for the future, and the Cleveland Cavaliers got some immediate help for LeBron James prior to their NBA finals run, namely George Hill and Rodney Hood.

The Cavaliers did make their run to the NBA Finals as expected, but their added help wasn’t nearly enough against the Golden State Warriors. Neither Hill or Hood were able to fulfill their potential as complementary pieces to LeBron James; Hood in particular got benched in the later rounds of the playoffs. The Cavaliers lost in a four game sweep to the Dubs, and James would bolt in free agency leaving the franchise in shambles for the second time in his career.

Hood and Hill were both traded out of Cleveland by February of 2019, and jury is still out on those deals for making the Cavs winners or losers. They’ll receive a first round pick from Milwaukee most likely in 2022, and 2022 second round picks from the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets.

They also have Matthew Dellavadova and John Henson leftover as return from George Hill.

The Kings never got much production out of Iman Shumpert. They would eventually flip him at the 2019 trade deadline for Alec Burks who didn’t have a great stint in Sacramento either. They were able to do some addition by subtraction by opening up playing time for then-rookie De’Aaron Fox.

He has broken out as their franchise point guard and Sacramento is close to ending the longest playoff drought in the NBA. They still hold the rights to Dimitrios Agravanis as well as Miami’s second round pick in 2020 from trading George Hill.

Meanwhile Jae Crowder became a fan favorite in Utah. He provided solid defense and always stuck up for his teammates on and off the court. Crowder would eventually become the starting power forward in place of Derrick Favors, which allowed Quin Snyder to put out lineups with a stretch four on the court at all times.

Crowder was used as part of a package to bring Mike Conley to Utah, and his departure was a big reason why Gail Miller took out a full page ad in the local papers to thank the eight departing Jazzmen.

As of today Utah appears to be the big winners of the actual material they received from this trade way back in February of 2018, and they can continue to make themselves look good if Mike Conley proves himself as a true upgrade over Ricky Rubio.

It would be easy to point at the Cleveland Cavaliers and call them the losers of this deal, but you never know what will come of those future second round picks that get thrown in a lot of trades. The late draft pick that was used to select Jae Crowder himself was wheeled and dealed through three separate teams before the Dallas Mavericks finally decided to hold onto the rookie.

I bet you that if any of those teams knew they could’ve gotten Jae Crowder just by holding on to that pick they would’ve kept it instead of trading it away willy-nilly. There is still a small chance (I mean really small) that the Cleveland Cavaliers get one, two, or even three draft steals in June of 2022 thanks to their stockpile of incoming draft picks.

As far as the Sacramento Kings go, they were never trying to make a splash with this trade in the first place, not even in the slightest. They actually lost a little money eating the salary of Joe Johnson, but still have a couple extra draft picks as a no-risk consolation prize. If those future picks don’t pan out, who cares? They found their identity for hopefully the next decade through De’Aaron Fox.

If the Utah Jazz are able to pull off a trade before the February sixth deadline, it will most likely be a similar deal to the Crowder and Korver deals the past couple of years. The Jazz came into this season with a clear goal of going far in the playoffs, and even Rudy Gobert said it today that he wants his team to be “playing in June”.

It’s no secret their bench needs a microwave scorer, something the Jazz bench has been missing since Joe Johnson succumbed to Father Time. Utah could also be in the market for an offensive minded big that can finish the pick and roll, or look to upgrade at power forward (Robert Covington anyone??).

Next. Christmas wishlist for every Utah Jazz player. dark

Regardless of what happens, I’m most excited to see how this team performs in March and beyond when every player is more familiar with each other and Quin Snyder’s system. I’m specifically still optimistic on Mike Conley panning out as the big offseason acquisition he was supposed to be.