A lot of players have come and gone from the Celtics roster this year and many of them were merely here for a cup of coffee. Salaries have to match in NBA trades (kinda-sorta, depending on which loophole you use) so often times players have to be included in deals purely for financial reasons (ask Gerald Wallace).
You would be excused for thinking initially that Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko were just another few names to filter in and out of Boston as part of Danny Ainge's roster purification process. If early indications are to believed, they are much more than that.
Each has been a useful player in their prior NBA homes and both could be very valuable to the Celtics this season and beyond.
Crowder in particular has won over fans with his effort and hustle. He's also proving to be versatile.
Crowder embraced the bench role, got increased playing time at power forward with Boston's depth eroded by injuries, and emerged as a primary reason why Boston has since won six of nine games. In that nine-game span, Crowder is averaging 12 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal over 26.7 minutes per game. He's carved out his role as a versatile body that Stevens can utilize at both forward spots. His plus-7.1 net rating is the best on the team for players that have been here throughout the nine-game stretch.
Jerebko hasn't been here long and was suffering from the flu for a few days, but he had a nice coming out party against the Knicks.
Spending some rare time at center on Wednesday night, Jerebko scored a team-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds and two assists over 21 minutes as the Celtics raced away from the New York Knicks in a 115-94 triumph.
It would seem unlikely that either one is going to be making an appearance on an All Star roster any time soon, but they are the kinds of guys that help you win basketball games. In particular in a year when Stevens is forced to use unique lineups and count on a variety of players to step up to fill gaps created by trade or injury.
Looking ahead, Crowder is a restricted free agent, which means that the Celtics have the option to match any offer that he gets this summer. Jerebko is an unrestricted free agent but the team owns his Bird Rights so they can offer him more years than anther team could. I'm not sure if the team will get into a bidding war over either of them, but they are very good role players to have around and depending on what the team does this summer I'm sure the Celtics would be interested in talking to them about contracts beyond this year.
Of course there's always a chance they could agree to a sign and trade as well. Or finally, the team could thank them for their services and take the cap room created by their exit. Suffice it to say there are a lot of options on the table this summer.
Regardless, both guys have been fun to watch lately and it is nice to see some early returns on the trades that mostly featured future assets.