Rick Carlisle regrets trading Jae Crowder to Celtics

February 14, 2017 GMT

DALLAS — A lot of seller’s remorse remains in Dallas in the aftermath of a big trade in December 2014 that, boiled down, sent Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks for Jae Crowder.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, when asked before last night’s 111-98 loss to the Celtics why the team traded Crowder, shrugged and said, “We shouldn’t have traded him.”

Crowder, asked about his former coach’s admission, took some satisfaction in the comment.

“I’m really pleased to hear that coming from him, because he’s a hard-nosed coach,” said the Celtics forward, who has always said he was glad to be traded.

That hasn’t changed.

“I think it worked out how I wanted it to at the time,” said Crowder. “I had a good time here, but at the same time I wanted to play more. It feels like my hard work is paying off a little bit, and at the time I was putting in a lot of time in the gym, and I felt like it wasn’t paying off for me. It was frustrating at the time.”

He had 10 points and four rebounds in 29 minutes before fouling out last night.

Crowder’s qualities — his versatility and more efficient 3-point shooting (.415, good for 17th in the league) — now make him sound like the perfect player for the Mavericks coach.

“He was shooting it pretty good when he was here,” said Carlisle. “He was getting into the high threes (percentage) from 3, and had some stretches where he was going 40. The only thing that took awhile, and he got a lot better toward the end of his run here, was his free throw shooting. But he’s got that solved. He’s one of those guys with the versatility to play different positions, he can switch onto smaller guys. As can (Marcus) Smart. Those kind of guys are becoming increasingly valuable.”

That’s not to say Carlisle overlooked Crowder’s versatility. The coach tried out Crowder as a “deep” backup point guard during the exhibition season. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said that he, too, has experimented with Crowder at point guard in practice.

“He was a very good all-around player when he was here, and he was getting better each year,” said Carlisle. “He was a big factor on defense, even on nights when his shooting wasn’t great and his offensive numbers weren’t gaudy, he was still plus more times than not.

“And we didn’t have a great team,” he said. “We were OK, we were good, we were a playoff-caliber team, but he was an impactful guy. I’m not surprised. The system they have in Boston is the perfect fit for his abilities. Really he’s a three- or four-position player. … He’s a guy who I do think will get better over the years to come.”