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Jae Crowder might be a keeper for the Boston Celtics

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Perhaps not just a throw-in.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, the Celtics traded Rajon Rondo for 3 players and a couple of draft picks.  One of those players, Jameer Nelson, is at the tail end of his career and likely would like to be re-routed to a contender post-haste.  The best player picked up was Brandan Wright, but he's a free agent at the end of the year and likely due a big pay increase.  There are already hints that he could be traded at the deadline (perhaps to pick up yet another pick).

That leaves one other guy picked up in the trade, Jae Crowder, that could stick around long term.

Crowder house: Newcomer looks to distinguish himself on C's crowded roster - Boston Celtics Blog - ESPN Boston

Of the three players acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the Rajon Rondo swap, Crowder may be the most likely to have a future with the team. The 6-foot-7 swingman is due a $1.2 million qualifying offer after the season that's a no-brainer for Boston to extend if he's not a casualty of salary aggregation at the February trade deadline.

Every single player on the current Celtics roster could be on borrowed time, but productive players on cheap contracts are probably the least likely to be leaving before the summer.

In fact, Crowder's talents would seem to make one high-paid player even more expendable than he already was.  Jae excels at hustle defense, heady plays, and (streaky) corner 3 point shooting.  As you might expect, his presence has pushed Gerald Wallace all the way to the end of the bench.

His stats won't wow anyone, but Jae is just one of those guys that coaches love because they make plays.  Via Forsberg of ESPN:

Crowder has a knack for making head's-up plays. Against Brooklyn on Friday, he misfired on a wing 3-pointer and was starting back on defense when Boston corralled the offensive rebound off a scramble. With his man cheating back behind him, Crowder sprinted from midcourt straight down the middle of the paint and was rewarded with an and-one layup. During Saturday's game in Washington, Crowder was deep in the corner, but when the Wizards collapsed on Brandon Bass near the blocks, Crowder sneaked in on the baseline and tipped home a miss.

Obviously if we come out of the Rondo trade with just Jae Crowder to show for it, that wasn't much of a return.  But the final tally on that deal will have to wait until we see how the draft plays out and what Danny Ainge does with his assets at the deadline.

Regardless, if Crowder keeps playing the way he has been, he could endear himself to the Boston fans looking for some silver linings and lunch pail heroes to cheer for.