In May of 2022, the Phoenix Suns came up short.
Despite their best efforts to leave it all on the court, the up-start Suns, led by a Hall of Fame-bound point guard and a future All-Pro shooting guard, were unable to overcome the unrelenting title machine known colloquially as the Golden State Warriors and watched their best chance at a title since Steve Nash was their point guard fly out the window. While the team was able to largely keep their core intact – even if bringing back Deandre Ayton had to be done kicking and screaming – the prospect of bringing the band back together and hoping for different results just isn’t good enough.
No, if the Suns want to win before Chris Paul inevitably transitions from playing basketball to talking about it, they need to upgrade their rotation and take a serious shot at the title. Fortunately, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Suns might have a pretty interesting plan to pursue an on-court upgrade by using Jae Crawford’s expiring contract as leverage.
Brian Windhorst on the Phoenix Suns making moves:
"The Suns are operating like a championship looking to improve their team heading into camp."#NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/LnFKwbLiPL
— 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧' 𝐍𝐁𝐀 (@_Talkin_NBA) September 19, 2022
Jae Crowford’s run with the Phoenix Suns may soon be done.
Speaking on the Suns’ current on-court dynamic, Windhorst delivered a minute-long rant on “what’s going on” in Phoenix and dropped some very interesting information on Crowford’s status moving forward.
“(The Suns) have been very active within this last week, they‘re conducting business, they are in trade negotiations right now,” Windhorst mentioned on NBA Live. “Now a lot of them are centered around Jae Crowder. Jae Crowder is a player who is available on the market right now, whether or not there’s going to be a deal for him that materializes between now and next week’s trade deadline, that we’ll have to see, but Jae Crowford is a guy in the last year of his contract and, you know, it’s possible that they could do a deal that could bring back more money. Bobby and people I’m talking to, they don’t get the sense that the Suns aren’t willing to spend. That they may be spending more.”
Interesting, but who could the Suns be interested in targeting for Crowford’s services? If the goal isn’t to get off of money, are there any legitimate upgrades that the Suns could target using his contract as the main financial catalyst? Fortunately, Windhorst had a nugget of information on that matter too.
“It would not surprise me if the Suns got involved in negotiations for Bojan Bogdanovic from the Utah Jazz who is available on the open market right now, several teams are bidding for him. Also, they are negotiating, from what I’ve been told, with Cam Johnson on a contract extension. Now that wouldn’t affect this year’s salary, that would be for down the line, but that would also indicate that they are willing to invest long-term in another player and avoid another restricted free agency situation like they had with DeAndre Ayton last year. So, from a front office perspective from the folks I’m talking to, the Suns are operating like a championship contender looking to improve their team heading into camp.”
Does Bogdanovic make the Suns better than Crowder, especially if it cost a first-round pick and/or a promising young player to make a deal sweet enough for Danny Ainge to agree? Only time will tell, but after being a vital cog in the Suns’ playoff picture, it’s clear Crowder’s time in Phoenix may soon be done.