With the NBA trade deadline just hours away, the Phoenix Suns have to trade Jae Crowder. The veteran forward has languished on the shelf all season. After losing his starting spot to Cameron Johnson, Crowder, and the team agreed to part ways. This was in training camp! In the last five months, the team hasn’t found a deal that meets their asking price. However, with the deadline rapidly approaching, it is time for a Suns trade deadline deal for the veteran forward. If the franchise can’t get this done and end up losing Crowder for nothing in the offseason, it will go down as one of the biggest botched non-trades in NBA history.

A Suns trade deadline deal sends Jae Crowder to the 76ers for Matisse Thybulle

The Suns have paid Jae Crowder nearly half of his $10.18 million contract this season despite not having played a possession for the team.

This isn’t a catastrophe quite yet. The team started the season 15-6 before hitting a 6-18 rough patch. Their recent 9-2 run is reason for optimism, but it’s hard not to believe the team wouldn’t be better than 30-26 and fifth in the Western Conference with Crowder or the player who came back in a trade in the lineup.

There’s a small chance that Phoenix swings big on NBA trade deadline day and pulls off a move for Kevin Durant to drastically change the team. If that’s the case, Crowder could be involved in that deal. If he’s not, though, the Suns have to find a deal for him.

There is no shortage of suitors for Crowder. The Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers all reportedly have interest in the experienced 3-and-D wing.

Whether these teams meet the Suns’ initial trade criteria or not, the franchise must evaluate which deal on the table is the best for the team and then jump at it.

And that best deal comes from the Sixers and looks like this:
Sixers get Jae Crowder
Suns get Matisse Thybule, Montrezl Harrel, and Dannuel House Jr.

The crux of the Suns trade deadline deal here is Crowder for Thybulle.

In Crowder, the 76ers get a tough, skilled, 3-and-D wing who is playoff tested. Despite being one of the best young defensive players in the NBA right now, Doc Rivers simply doesn’t trust Thybulle. Crowder is the type of player Rivers loves.

What they will get from a 32-year-old who hasn’t played in the league all season is yet to be seen. If he can be the 10-points, five-boards, one-plus-steal per game player he’s been the last few seasons and shoots over 35% from long range, the Sixers will be happy.

On the Suns' side, let’s start with the fact that any competent player fits better than no player, so that’s an upgrade there. In Matisse Thybule, though, the Suns get a 25-year-old who is one of the best lockdown defenders in the league and has the potential to get even better with more playing time.

To be clear, Thybule gives the Suns nothing offensively. He is averaging 2.6 points, 0.5 assists, and 1.3 rebounds this season. Playing with him in the game is like playing 5-on-4 on offense. However, when those four are Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, and Mikal Bridges, that matters less.

Additionally, the Suns get Montrezl Harrel and Dannuel House Jr. Together they are playing a little over 28 minutes per game. Harrel is providing 5.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and shooting 60.2% from the field. House is putting up 4.6 points, 1.8 rebounds, and shoots 34.3% from deep.

Neither one of these players moves the needle all that much for the Suns, but together they add depth that the team has been sorely lacking while Jae Crowder abstained from playing this season.

If Thybulle isn’t your cup of tea as a Suns fan, that’s OK. Maybe Grayson Allen from the Bucks or Max Strus from the Heat is more your speed, and that’s absolutely fine. The point isn’t about who the Suns get back in a trade. It’s about getting somebody (anybody) in return for their unhappy vet.

The problem a Suns trade deadline deal will run into is that Crowder is now a buyout market candidate as well. If the Bucks, Heat, or 76ers think they can get the forward without giving up any assets, they may sit this one out and watch the Suns go through the worst-case scenario for their role player.

And if this happens as the first move of the Matt Ishbia era, the new ownership group will not be off to a great start.