The Phoenix Suns and Jae Crowder came to a mutual decision before the season started that the veteran forward would not see the court this year until a trade could be made. The Crowder saga started before training camp when the two sides couldn’t reach an extension, and then news surfaced that Cameron Johnson would become the Suns starting power forward. Crowder followed up with this tweet,” 99 Wont BE THERE” which he later deleted.
The Suns have been trying to find a trade partner, even after Johnson went out with a torn right meniscus. Finally, we may be coming to a conclusion in this trade story; it started with Crowder sending out a cryptic Instagram post of a clock.
We are now getting reports from Marc Stein and Jake Fischer that a trade was imminent.
Word is the Suns appeared close to finalizing a three-team trade involving Jae Crowder prior tip-off tonight against Golden State. https://t.co/VTRjU3HBRu
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) November 17, 2022
No word on what teams outside of Phoenix (of course) would be involved, but that won’t stop us from making our own logical guesses on where Crowder could be headed. Here are three teams that would benefit from a Jae Crowder trade.
Suns, Hawks, and the Rockets
Suns get: Eric Gordon
Rockets get: Dario Saric, Lou Williams, 1st-round pick from the Suns
Hawks get: Jae Crowder
The Suns are reportedly looking for veteran help in return for Crowder in any trade. The Suns have long been rumored to be interested in Eric Gordon, the veteran guard/forward from the Houston Rockets. Gordon has been on the market for the last few years, but the Rockets have not been willing to make a deal happen.
The Rockets are still in rebuild mode and are gathering as many drafts pick as possible. Gordon would be an excellent fit on the veteran Suns team trying to make another championship run. Would Phoenix be willing to part with their 1st round pick? For the Hawks, this gives them another veteran player with NBA Finals experience that could play either forward spot. John Collins has injury history, and the Hawks could use another veteran presence at small or power forward.
The only downside is the Suns would have to move on from Saric, who, at this point, is one of the few power forwards left on the roster. But judging by the box scores, the Suns are playing small ball with Torey Craig getting minutes in the front court with Saric, coming off an ACL injury, is only getting nine minutes per game.
Suns and Bucks
Suns get: Grayson Allen
Bucks get: Jae Crowder
Reports say that the Bucks have made Grayson Allen available in possible upcoming trades. The Bucks have also been named as a potential landing spot for Crowder. The Bucks have been looking for front court help, specifically defensive help, since losing PJ Tucker after the Bucks championship in 2021. Crowder would provide them with a player who can play behind Giannis or start at forward until Kris Middleton makes his return.
The Suns would get in Allen a player who could contribute immediately, backing up Devin Booker. Allen is currently shooting 42.6 from 3-point range, and in today’s NBA, you can never have too much shooting. Allen did miss the Bucks last game with a sore right ankle, but it’s not considered anything serious, as Allen may be back early as Friday. This doesn’t, however, fill the Suns front court needs.
Suns and Heat
Suns get: Max Strus and Duncan Robinson
Heat get: Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, 2nd-round pick
The Heat have been mentioned as another potential destination for Crowder. Jae helped the Miami reach the Finals during the 2020 bubble season and apparently would not mind a reunion. Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported he (Crowder) would welcome a return to the Miami Heat, where he played 20 games in 2019-20 after being acquired in a three-team trade.
Reports have stated the Suns would want Max Strus back in any trade for Crowder, but the Heat would be reluctant to send out Strus. Instead, the Heat may part with Duncan Robinson, who hasn’t gotten steady minutes for the Heat all year. The only issue in a Strus trade before January is the Heat don’t have many players to send out that would help match Crowder’s incoming salary.
Victor Oladipo is in a 2-year, 8.7 million dollar deal, but he can’t be traded until January. So it would come down to the Heat moving Robinson and Strus for Crowder with Saric as a salary filler. Miami may not want to trade their shooting guard depth considering Oladipo’s injuries over the last few years. The Suns would get a reliable backup for Booker in Strus, who has closed some games for the Heat this season. In this scenario, it may make more sense for the Heat to wait it out and hope Crowder is still available after the start of 2023.
The Suns seemed ready to move on from Crowder who’s been sitting at home collecting a paycheck all season. However, even if a trade doesn’t happen soon, the Suns will continue to look to get back some assets for Crowder as they try to get back to the Finals and win that elusive first ring.