Patient Celtics hoping they're another step closer – ESPN (blog)
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
Covered Celtics since 2007
Emmy award-winning videographer
Joined ESPNBoston.com in 2009
WALTHAM, Mass. — When the Boston Celtics acquired Jae Crowder in December in a swap that delivered Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks, many believed Boston was cleaning house and accepting a fate of rebuilding through the draft. This made Crowder cringe, so he started knocking on doors around the Celtics’ training facility trying to figure out exactly what direction this team was headed.
“I think that was the biggest thing for me because I’m a winner,” Crowder said. “When I first came here and we were — [the media was] saying, ‘tanking’ — it was bad. I didn’t want to be a part of it, selfishly because I don’t like losing. I had to ask. I had to ask our direction moving forward.”
So Crowder sought out Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. Then coach Brad Stevens. Then the assistant coaches. Then weight room guys, ball boys, and employees of the gym that shares Boston’s training facility — anyone who might know what the plan was for this team.
“What’s the direction? You ask everybody,” Crowder said. “You ask questions, so that’s what I did.”
It was stressed to him that Boston’s plan was to build a championship contender, but the team had little interest in taking the typical tanking route to get there. The Celtics proved as much in mid-February when they acquired Isaiah Thomas in a trade-deadline swap that helped fuel Boston’s surprising second-half surge to the postseason.
Crowder, now smitten and confident with where he believes this team is headed, signed a five-year, $35 million extension with the Celtics on Monday. He believes there’s a vision and a strong desire to get this team back to elite contender status and he’s eager to help get the Celtics get there.
“I don’t think we’re going to go backward,” Crowder said. “I think we’re in the right direction — moving forward. That’s to win playoff games, like Danny said, and we didn’t do that last year. So that’s our next goal. We’re taking steps. Of course we want Banner 18, but at the same time we have to win a playoff game first before we get to Banner 18. I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
The Celtics completed their heavy summer lifting Monday by executing five transactions — re-signing Crowder, …Read More