The Phoenix Suns have been waiting to hit the court for the 2022-23 season ever since they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns looked shaky all throughout the playoffs, and then completely fell apart in Game 7 against the Mavericks, sending them to the offseason wondering what went wrong.
It was a bit of a rocky offseason in Phoenix, as they publicly grappled with the possibility of losing Deandre Ayton, and saw many of their players be mentioned in rumors of a potential Kevin Durant trade. Ultimately, the Suns will enter the upcoming campaign with a roster that looks fairly similar to the one they had last season.
Considering the success Phoenix has experienced with their current roster, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But it's clear there are some players on their team that could end up finding themselves on a new team before the start of the season. With training camp kicking off today, let's take a look at two Suns players who may have a new home by the time the 2022-23 season starts.
Landry Shamet is hoping that he finally found a home in the NBA. After bouncing between four teams during the first four seasons of his career, Shamet is returning for his second season with the Suns. There is a chance, though, that he could find himself on the move yet again before the season starts.
Shamet has turned himself into a decent rotation player who can come off the bench and make a spot start from time to time when he needs to. Shamet is the fourth guard the Suns have at their disposal behind Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Cameron Payne, but he still found a way to make his mark last season. Shamet averaged 8.3 points per game, although his efficiency was not good for much of the year.
At his best, Shamet profiles as a bench guard who can soak up 20-25 minutes a game as a floor-spacer who can hold his own on defense. Shamet isn't the best basketball player to roam the earth, but he could be a crucial piece of a rotation for a championship team. That adds to his value despite his somewhat inconsistent numbers.
Heading into the season, though, Shamet simply may not be needed by Phoenix. The Suns have an abundance of help in their backcourt, but their frontcourt (more specifically, their center position) needs some reinforcements before the season starts.
Considering how the Suns added guards such as Damion Lee, Duane Washington Jr., Josh Okogie, and Frank Jackson this offseason, they have players that can take over Shamet's role. Shamet has more value than anyone in that list, though, so if they can trade him and pick up a center to play behind Ayton, that would be a move the Suns would likely pull the trigger on, making Shamet a trade candidate for Phoenix.
1. Jae Crowder
Of course, the most likely player to get moved is the one who is trying to force his way off the team. Jae Crowder is entering the final year of his contract with the Suns, and he wants an extension he doesn't seem likely to get. Considering he wants a new deal that the Suns don't want to give him, it seems like a certainty that Crowder will be traded before the start of the season.
Crowder has worked hard to turn himself into a valuable three-and-d player who can play a big role on a championship team. He's never been the greatest scorer in the world, but he knows what he can and can't do, and he does his best to not do more than he's asked to do.
Crowder's shooting throughout his career has been volatile at best. He's become a bit more consistent during his time with the Suns, although it's worth noting his three-point percentage fell from 38.9 percent to 34.8 percent last season. Crowder's main contributions come on the defensive end, where his blend of speed and strength allow him to guard pretty much anyone he finds himself matched up against.
The Suns have the ability to move on from Crowder because they have Cameron Johnson waiting in the wings. Johnson is a significant offensive upgrade from Crowder, and has proven to be a versatile defensive piece himself, albeit in a different manner than Crowder.
Phoenix is probably going to let Crowder leave in free agency after this season anyways, so they may as well get something in return for him while they can. Both sides seem to be looking to make a deal here, and it would be very surprising to see Crowder suiting up for the Suns when the 2022-23 season kicks off.