Everything seemed to be in place for the Phoenix Suns and Jae Crowder to part ways, but no trade has been announced yet. Why is that?
Last week arrived with Jake Fischer reporting a nearly-finalized trade between the Milwaukee Bucks (seemingly offering Grayson Allen) and the Phoenix Suns involving forward Jae Crowder. More than a week later, though, nothing has been made official. What has happened for that to be the case?
The Phoenix Suns and Jae Crowder agreed to leave the veteran out of the rotation and sitting on the wings while waiting for a trade to happen.
Phoenix is seemingly not interested in extending Crowder’s contract so both parties have decided the best decision is to move on from their relationship in an amicable way as soon as possible.
Not even the injury to Cameron Johnson (torn meniscus) leaving him out for the next one or two months is going to bring Crowder back to the lineup, per Hoopshype: “There’s still no expectation Crowder will return to the Suns. Several teams, including the Bucks, Hawks, Heat, and others, have expressed interest in Crowder.”
Expanding on that interest from multiple teams around the league, Shams Charania ($) also included a note about Crowder in his latest trade rumors column. According to Charania “the Bucks and the Hawks have been engaged with the Suns on a potential Crowder deal”, adding that “the Hawks have opened up preliminary trade discussions around forward John Collins.”
Phoenix doesn’t want to pay Jae Crowder nor take on long-term deals, which has brought negotiations to a halt
That latest bit of information might have changed Phoenix’s mind about trading Jae Crowder to Milwaukee, reportedly in exchange for guard Grayson Allen, as the Suns are a team “showing desire in Collins,” says Charania.
The conundrum Phoenix is facing, though, boils down to the one poised by retaining Crowder: the money. Collins is currently in the second season of a five-year, $125 million contract. Charania informed readers that the Suns “appear uninclined” to take on the long-term money owed to Collins. That makes sense, considering they are not interested in extending Crowder.
Eric Pincus, from Bleacher Report, recently wrote about three potential suitors for Jae Crowder including the aforementioned Bucks and Hawks, but also adding the two-timeline Golden State Warriors into the mix.
“Leaving the team’s three stars out of the equation, that leaves Patrick Baldwin Jr., Ryan Rollins, and the Warriors’ three top prospects in Wiseman, Kuminga, and Moody,” wrote Pincus.
“Wiseman would be necessary to include to make the numbers work before December 15. Additionally, the Warriors must include Kuminga and at least one of the remaining three prospects—or the team could keep Kuminga and send Moody with Baldwin and Rollins.”
Getting back to the Bucks’ offer, Milwaukee’s package was reportedly built around Grayson Allen. A straight one-for-one trade would work given the two players’ salaries, but Phoenix was reluctant to take on Allen’s two-year deal. The Suns were trying to make it work by adding Houston to the conversations by way of including youngster KJ Martin into the three-team deal, but there is no news to report on that front for now.
Martin has improved and taken on a larger role for the Rockets as the season has advanced, though, so it’s hard to see a rebuilding franchise like Houston’s getting rid of a talented prospect.
Crowder sits on the opposite end of the experience spectrum to where the likes of Allen and Martin are currently at, though. He’d bring playoff experience to whoever acquires him’s table, as Crowder appeared in the NBA Finals of 2020 with the Heat and in 2021 with the Suns.
It is fair to assume the Suns would probably prefer to send Crowder to an Eastern Conference team to keep him out of the conference given his past and his proven abilities at the largest of stages.
One thing is clear, though, and it is that Phoenix won’t lack options and choices when it comes to flipping Crowder for some assets. The consensus is that might take a three-team deal to make it all work, but that’s yet to be seen if a trade agreement is ultimately reached given Phoenix’s lack of interest in the monetary side of the equation when it comes to long-term obligations.