SALT LAKE CITY — A new player was spotted strolling around the Utah Jazz practice facility in a light gray Nike sweatsuit, gripping a basketball.
New acquisition Jae Crowder is learning his way around.
He arrived in Salt Lake City late Thursday night and met with coach Quin Snyder ahead of Friday’s shootaround, but isn’t officially on the roster until all players involved in the three-team trade clear their physicals, so he can’t do anything on the court.
It’s highly unlikely that the former Cleveland Cavalier will be in the lineup as the Jazz return from a four-game road trip to host the Charlotte Hornets at 7 p.m. tonight in Vivint Arena.
“We had a chance to meet today before shootaround, so I don’t want to overload him with various things,” Snyder said. “Coming into a program midseason has its own unique challenges and I think the best thing for him to do is to be instinctive and try to adapt to this and let it evolve.”
Jazz coach Quin Snyder on acquiring Jae Crowder: “We think it’s an excellent fit. We’re excited.” pic.twitter.com/NtkxSxuDOe— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) February 9, 2018
Both Crowder and former MVP Derrick Rose were acquired in the trade that sent Rodney Hood to Cleveland and Joe Johnson to Sacramento Thursday.
However, Rose is expected to be released to sign with Minnesota and Johnson will reportedly receive a buyout from the Kings to sign with a title contender such as Golden State or Boston.
As much as Hood and Johnson will be missed in Utah, Snyder is happy to add a tough-minded, scrappy player in Crowder. His defensive energy and ability to guard multiple positions coupled with his offensive playmaking will fit well in Snyder’s free-flowing system.
“We’re really excited to have Jae here,” Snyder said. “What he gives our team, both the intangibles and also the type of player he is and the things he’s able to do on the floor, we think it’s an excellent fit. We’re excited.”
In his sixth season, Crowder is averaging 8.6 points and 3.3 rebounds. He already has ties to the Jazz organization, as his father, Corey, was a former Jazzman during the 1991-92 season where he averaged 2.2 points in 51 games. Crowder is also teaming with former teammate Jonas Jerebko, who he played with for three seasons in Boston from 2014-17.
Jerebko said he learned the news just like the rest of the world through following Twitter, then called him right away to confirm.
“He was like, ‘Yep, I’m coming' and it was fun,” Jerebko said.
Jerebko called Crowder one of his all-time favorite teammates in the league and believes his two-way ability and humor will win over Jazz fans and players quickly. He has no doubt.
“I know he’s a great player and he’s going to fit in with the team,” Jerebko said. “We’ve got great team chemistry here, I do not know how the team chemistry was in Cleveland but that’s something I’m going to ask him later, but I don’t really care. I know he’s going to fit in perfect with us.”