Jae Crowder remains on the sideline in Phoenix and the castoff veteran could be someone the Cleveland Cavaliers take a look at as they look to improve their roster.
The Cavaliers have established themselves as one of the best teams in the league with an 18-11 record but could use a player like Crowder as a 3-and-D wing with playoff experience.
Bleacher Report listed Crowder as a potential target for the Cavaliers, citing his toughness as a key factor.
“Cleveland spent the summer searching for answers at the small forward spot. Two months into the campaign, that search continues. The Cavaliers have tried a number of different options, but no one has struck a two-way balance. One of these three potential targets could, though,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley wrote. “Crowder is a guaranteed supplier of toughness and defense, and he’s a major asset when he heats up from range.”
The Cavaliers were also noted as potential contenders for Crowder’s services by Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.
“The Cavs made a big swing last summer when they acquired Donovan Mitchell. Will they take another?” Mannix wrote. “Cleveland is loaded, but J.B. Bickerstaff could probably find a use for a versatile wing like Jae Crowder or Dorian Finney-Smith. The Cavs still have a few assets to deal and an aggressive, Koby Altman–led front office that might be willing to use them.”
Lamar Stevens Draws Praise as Cavs Starter
The Cavaliers are currently running out Lamar Stevens as their starting small forward and the former undrafted free agent has done a decent job stepping into the role. He’s averaging 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds, shooting 45.9% from the field while providing a strong defensive presence. Stevens has also been solid from beyond the arc, knocking down his 3-point shots at a 34.4% clip.
Stevens isn’t the most notable name but has been praised by his star teammates for what he brings to the table.
“He brings that dog mentality,” Darius Garland said. “He brings that physicality, as you saw tonight. He brings that defensive mind that we really need and he’s gonna play hard for 48 minutes. That’s who we need with our group.”
For Stevens, it’s all about making an impact on the defensive end of the floor and bringing that mentality to the table for the whole team.
“I’ve embraced it. I just hold myself to that standard first,” Stevens told Cleveland.com .”Every morning I wake up and think about the game and I’m studying film and focusing on my defense, how I can impact the defense first. I feel like my offense will come at some point.”
Crowder Conversations ‘Ongoing’ For Suns
Crowder is due $10.1 million in the final year of his three-year deal, so he doesn’t come at a huge cost for a team looking to take a swing on a trade. Crowder hasn’t played a game since May but averaged 28.1 minutes, 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds last season, starting all 67 games he played in. He also notched 1.4 steals per game and shot 34.8% from deep.
“We’ve had conversations and those conversations are ongoing,” Suns general manager James Jones said on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo. “When something happens, it’ll happen. … There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played. So we’ll be patient. We’re not waiting, but we’ll be patient to make sure that we find someone that’s the right fit.”
The Suns have remained patient on making a deal but the time could be coming soon for the market for Crowder to become a bit more active. Players who signed as free agents last summer became eligible to be traded on December 15, so they could open up some additional avenues as they look to move him.