Jae Crowder Says He 'Got Back to Having Fun' After Trade from Cavaliers to Jazz

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2018

PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 11:  Jae Crowder #99 of the Utah Jazz looks on before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on February 11, 2018 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Suffice it to say Jae Crowder appears happy with his new team.

The Utah Jazz forward scored 15 points and added five rebounds and three assists in his debut, a 115-96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, and made it clear he's already more comfortable than he was in Cleveland

"I got back to having fun playing basketball with a great group of guys," Crowder said after the game.

Crowder, 27, was traded to the Jazz alongside Derrick Rose in a three-team deal that also sent Iman Shumpert to Sacramento as part of the Cavs' deadline mass exodus.

After emerging as a solid wing defender and floor-spacer with Boston, Crowder struggled mightily in his 53 games in a Cavs uniform. He averaged 8.6 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting 41.8 percent from the field and performing below expectations defensively—along with almost every other Cavs player.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder runs a more structured system on both ends than Cavs coach Ty Lue, which Crowder said is a welcome change.

"We're playing off one another. Once I get better with these guys, it should be better," Crowder said. "We're playing free—Coach gives a lot of freedom to these guys, some structure but a lot of freedom, and I love it. I love playing within a system. It'll be fun."

The Jazz's win over Portland was their ninth straight, putting them within 1.5 games of the New Orleans Pelicans for the Western Conference's eighth seed.

On the other side, Cleveland seemed to have no issues moving on from Crowder. The Cavs looked infinitely looser and more structured on their end as well, going on the road for a 121-99 trouncing of the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

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