The title-contending Phoenix Suns are less than 24 hours away from NBA Media Day, but the festivities will likely go on without 3-and-D forward Jae Crowder. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Crowder and the Suns have “mutually agreed” he won’t participate in training camp, as both sides work on a trade.
The veteran forward has spent the last two seasons of his 10-year NBA career with the Suns, helping the team make the NBA Finals in 2021 and clinch a franchise-best 64-18 record during the 2021-22 season. Over his two seasons, Crowder has made 109 starts for the Suns and averaged 9.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and a 36.9% clip from three-point range in 27.8 minutes per game.
The 32-year-old journeyman has suited up for seven different NBA franchises in his career and that number will likely be eight soon. Could the Blazers be that eighth team? Oh, I know the speculation is coming.
In the past, Crowder has been linked to the Blazers in free agency. He brings to the table defensive toughness and solid outside shooting — both qualities the Blazers have coveted at the forward position for a long time. Chatter about a possible partnership rose to it’s highest in the 2020 offseason, but that summer Crowder went to Phoenix and the Blazers added high-flying wing Derrick Jones Jr. Maybe things are meant to be this time around.
What do you think Rip City? Should the Blazers look into adding Crowder to the wing rotation?
Let me start off the debate by answering with a resounding “NO.” The Blazers seem content to roll into the season with an expanded role for Nassir Little and lots of minutes for Josh Hart. Adding Crowder isn’t enough of a return to cut into either of those guys’ minutes, especially Little’s development. In a best case scenario, Little can develop into a Crowder-like player or better — and he’s only 22.
Hart is probably the Blazers’ best, most-realistic trade chip at the moment who could swing a deal for Crowder. When it comes down to it, I’d rather have Hart on the roster more than a 32-year-old Crowder. If you’re going to deal Hart, which very well could happen at the February Trade Deadline (if you don’t want to potentially lose him in the offseason to free agency for nothing), I’d want general manager Joe Cronin to hold out for something better.