He was role player who saw limited action in Dallas, and was included as part of the compensation put on the table by the Mavericks who were eager to acquire Rajon Rondo.
Three-plus years later and Crowder, a throw-in to make the money work at that time, has been arguably the best player in that trade.
And that's in part why when he's introduced Wednesday night when his new team (Cleveland) faces his old one (Boston) for the first time at the TD Garden, the 6-foot-6 forward should get a warm reception.
"Fans have cheered for opposing team's players before," Crowder told the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn. "I feel like they should do the same for me because I gave them a lot. I hope they give me a little cheer."
If as expected Crowder gets a nice round of applause, it'll be somewhat ironic considering how much he disliked the TD Garden crowd cheering for players on other teams.
It was a year ago almost to the day, when Crowder voiced his displeasure at fans cheering for then-Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.
He took his anger out on Hayward and the Jazz, scoring a then-season high 21 points in Boston's 115-104 win on Jan. 3, 2017 – a year ago to the day when he'll return to the TD Garden as a visitor who he hopes will get a warm reception.
During his time with the Celtics, Crowder played a tough, physical brand of basketball that was instrumental in Boston's ascension to being one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
"Great toughness" was how Celtics head coach Brad Stevens described Crowder. "When we really needed versatile big guys to do a lot of things on the floor, he was the guy that was probably able to swing to a big position the most and play the wing. And again, brought a consistent approach and toughness to or team."
Added Al Horford: "Just a … hard worker, played hard, competitor. Really, also gave everything he had for the Celtics."
Jaylen Brown was among the Celtics who worked closely with Crowder last season.
"He's a pro," Brown said. "He prepares each and every game. That's one of the main things about those guys; it's how to prepare to win. He did whatever he needed to, to get his body ready. Everybody else came after. He's a pro basketball player first and everything else came after, and I respect that."
So do Celtics fans who will in all likelihood give him a loud round of applause when he's introduced to the TD Garden crowd.