What trade? Danny Ainge says Jae Crowder “big part of what we’re doing”

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When talks were going on a possible sign-and-trade with Utah as a way to facilitate the Gordon Hayward signing, the name that kept coming up as heading to Utah was Jae Crowder. Most of that was coming out of Utah, because if you could pluck a non-star off the Celtics roster the team’s best defender and a reliable three-point shooter is the best choice.

Celtics president Danny Ainge knows how valuable Crowder is and doesn’t sound like a guy looking to move him, as he told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

“Jae is a big part of what we’re doing,” said Ainge. “I mean, he was our best 3-point shooter last year, and he defends some of the top players in the league. Jae’s a very important player for us going forward.”

Crowder is part of what makes Boston dangerous — he is the guy they will put on LeBron James in the playoffs, he’s the energy guy, the hard-working grinder that every great team needs. He shot 39.8 percent from three last season, his offensive game is improving. And, he’s got two years, $14.9 million left on a steal of a contract.

Ainge may need to move Crowder eventually, he’s got real trade value if they are trying to land another star, plus they have to decide if they want to pay him come the summer of 2019. But for now, Crowder stays in green.

That doesn’t mean Ainge is done.

“No, we’re not comfortable yet,” Danny Ainge told the Herald. “We do like our team, but we’re still going to search things out to see if we can find anything that makes us better this offseason.”