Free Agent No. 3: Jae Crowder, Milwaukee Bucks
If Cam Reddish is unrealized potential, Jae Crowder is at the other end of the spectrum. The former second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft has squeezed every drop out of his NBA career, playing for eight different teams and making the playoffs with six of them, including a trip to the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat in 2020.
Crowder looks like the kind of veteran forward a team like the Cavaliers should look to add. He is a good shooter on high volume who will help to keep defenses honest, and on the other end of the court he is strong and savvy and has plenty of experience defending the toughest of opposing players.
The issue is that at 32 years of age, Crowder looks to be on the downslope of his career. He has lost a step defensively and, after sitting out most of last season, wasn’t even in the Milwaukee Bucks’ rotation in the playoffs. Defensively, he’s more of a straight 4 than a versatile wing who can defend multiple positions. Other than pure shot volume, there likely isn’t much difference between Crowder and Dean Wade at this point in their careers.
Crowder will be looking for a solid payday this summer, and as one of only a few 3-and-D players on the market will likely find a team offering at least the Full MLE. The Cavaliers should look to use theirs elsewhere and avoid overpaying for a player who may not be usable come the postseason.