Jonas Jerebko is a social media hawk on trade deadline day ever since he was traded to Boston a few seasons back. He updates his Twitter feed constantly.
So he was one of the first Jazzmen to see that Jae Crowder, his teammate for three years with the Celtics, was coming to join him in Utah. And he was one of the first to reach out and call him to offer words of welcome.
“I was happy when I had seen Jae came here,” Jerebko said. “For three years, we had some great times together. One of my all-time favorite teammates. It was great.”
Crowder, who had yet to pass a physical Friday morning, flew in to Utah late Thursday night following a three-team trade and spent Friday’s shootaround strolling through the Jazz practice facility and getting a handle on his new team, teammates and coaches. Crowder was not available to speak with media (he is not officially on the roster pending completion of the trade) and is “highly unlikely” to play for the Jazz against Charlotte on Friday night when the Jazz (26-28) try to stretch their winning streak to eight games.
But Crowder’s future with the team is a prospect that animates and excites coach Quin Snyder, who envisions Crowder’s versatility blending in well with the Jazz. His best success came in his years in Boston, where he was part of a defense-first, ball-movement scheme — and Utah hopes that he’ll bounce back after a mediocre half season in Cleveland.
“One of the things he does well is defend,” Snyder said. “He’s able to guard multiple positions, which as we’ve seen in this league as certain teams gravitate to more positionless basketball, those defensive matchups are important. We feel like offensively he’s a guy who can make plays for people, and a multiple position guy as well.”
Off the court, Jerebko said Crowder is “funny” and easy to get along with. He’s also a trash talker, and Jerebko hedged when asked whether Crowder was a better talker than Joe Ingles. But he sees Crowder, 27, fitting right in from a personality perspective.
“We’ve got great team chemistry here,” Jerebko said. “I do not know how the team chemistry was in Cleveland, but that’s something I’m going to ask him later. I know he’s going to fit in perfect with us.”
The other big talking point at practice was the Jazzmen who left town in the trade: Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson. Like general manager Dennis Lindsey, the rest of the Jazz were complimentary of their former teammates.
Snyder didn’t want to compare and contrast Hood and Crowder in particular, choosing instead to celebrate Hood on his own merits.
“I’m looking forward to see him continue to get better and have opportunities elsewhere,” Snyder said. “So excited for his development, as I said, and appreciate everything he’s done for the program.”