The Phoenix Suns are one of the true contenders in the NBA but they are looking to shake up their roster. Veteran forward Jae Crowder has been an integral role player for Phoenix for the past two seasons and will receive interest from many teams.
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) September 26, 2022
Crowder and the Suns are ready to part ways after a report that he may lose his starting spot. Young forward Cameron Johnson has been on the rise, and it appears that Phoenix intends to start him. A 3-and-D veteran forward will be highly touted as those players are immensely valuable in the modern NBA.
Crowder is coming off a season where he averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three. He is a winning player and brings toughness and intensity on both ends of the floor. Crowder has been in the NBA Finals twice in the past three years, with the Miami Heat in 2020 and the Suns in 2021.
As the Suns move on, here are the three best destinations for disgruntled Suns veteran Jae Crowder.
3. Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies had a breakout season in 2021 as their young core blossomed. Memphis won 56 games, finishing with the league’s second-best record. The Grizzlies are led by ascending star Ja Morant and have good depth as their young players grow.
Memphis could use another 3-and-D forward to add to their rotation. Crowder played for the Grizzlies in 45 games in the 2019-20 season before being shipped off to Miami. Reuniting with the 32-year-old would give Memphis a veteran presence that can thrive in head coach Taylor Jenkins’s system. The Grizzlies lost Kyle Anderson in the offseason and could use a replacement like Crowder in the lineup.
2. Miami Heat
Crowder could reunite with another team as the Heat look to reload and compete for a championship. The Heat lost P.J. Tucker in free agency and will need additional depth at forward. Crowder knows the system, and his game fits with the Heat culture.
Crowder had a fantastic stretch at the end of the 2019-20 season after being traded to the Heat, averaging 11.8 points per game along with 5.3 rebounds while shooting 48.2 percent and an outstanding 44.5 percent from behind the arc. He was a pivotal part of Miami’s run to the Finals in the bubble, and Jimmy Butler and company could use his abilities.
1. Boston Celtics
A third reunion on the possible destinations? Yes, among teams that could use the forward is the Boston Celtics, another of Crowder’s former teams. Crowder played some of his best basketball in a Celtics uniform, and following the season-ending injury to Danilo Gallinari, Boston could use another forward.
Boston is coming off a trip to the Finals and has improved this offseason with the addition of Malcolm Brogdon. The Celtics are going to look different, as head coach Ime Udoka was suspended for the entirety of the season following reports of a relationship with a female staffer. While this situation continues to play out, Joe Mazzula will take over as the interim head coach. He has been an assistant coach for Boston since 2019.
Players will have to adapt to this, but as far as the roster goes, Crowder could make an impact. If Boston can pull off a deal for him, they may have the deepest team in the NBA.
While these teams are potential options, Crowder could fit on any team. His skillset of being a two-way player could be beneficial to any team in the league. Although he isn’t a star, he can complement any player and team.
Crowder and the Suns will be working to find his next team, and it will be interesting to see which side acquires him.