Jae Crowder

Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Jae Crowder's mom died of cancer moments after he told her about trade to Cavaliers

John Tomase
September 07, 2017 - 2:05 pm

The blockbuster that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston focused understandably on the inclusion of All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, who had led the Celtics to the conference finals just weeks after the death of his sister.

But it turns out the deal was no less emotional for forward Jae Crowder, who experienced a devastating loss of his own the day the deal went down.

Crowder was at the bedside of his cancer-stricken mother, Helen, when the news broke. He informed her of the trade just minutes before she died at age 51.

"There was a lot going on that day, obviously," Crowder told reporters in Cleveland during his introductory press conference. "The good thing about the whole ordeal was I was able to whisper it to my mom before she passed. I was with her. I just told her, 'We're going to Cleveland.' Five minutes later, she passed. That day was tough, but it was a good day for myself, for my basketball career, to move on to an organization like this, like the Cleveland Cavaliers, to put myself in a position to play for it all. I couldn't ask myself for nothing else. I was thankful for Boston, for everything they've done for me, and for trading me to a team like this. I was thankful for the opportunity. But that day was pretty wild."

Crowder's emotions had been all over the place since the end of the season, when the Celtics signed free agent forward Gordon Hayward and then drafted forward Jayson Tatum out of Duke.

"I was a little concerned," he said. "We had a lot of wing players stacked up. It was a little concerning. I made it clear to the organization that I was concerned about it and just wanted more direction. I think they gave it to me with the trade. They showed me what they wanted to do. I respected it."

Crowder, 27, gives the Cavaliers a much-needed three-and-D specialist who can provide depth to a frontcourt that sorely lacked it last season.

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