Lakers Considered Landing Spot for $65 Million Star Forward

Nuggets' Aaron Gordon guards Suns' Jae Crowder

Getty Nuggets' Aaron Gordon guards Suns' Jae Crowder

The Los Angeles Lakers are considered a landing spot for a $65 million small forward.

In a December 5 article called “With Anthony Davis in MVP Form, Lakers Should Go All-In This Trade Season,” Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus named Phoenix Suns swingman Jae Crowder a player the Lakers could possibly trade for.

“The list of available trade targets isn’t yet clear, as the other 29 teams are currently trying to figure out where they stand,” Pincus wrote. “The trade market starts to heat up after December 15, which is when a majority of recently signed free agents can be traded. The Lakers may need a team or two to quit on the season if they want high-quality players in return, but that may only happen closer to the February 9 trade deadline. Potential targets could include Jae Crowder (Phoenix Suns).”

Crowder hasn’t played at all this season. He’s been away from the Suns while the franchise looks for a trade partner. The veteran averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists last season while shooting 39.9% from the field, 34.8% from beyond the arc and 78.9% from the free-throw line.

How Can the Lakers Get Crowder?

Crowder is making $10.2 million this season. He becomes an unrestricted free agent once the campaign ends. The Marquette product signed a three-year, $29.2 million contract with the Suns in November 2020. He will have earned more than $65 million in NBA money once the 2022-23 season ends.

Under CBA rules, the Lakers can trade guards Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn to the Suns for Crowder and Dario Saric. Los Angeles is shopping Beverley and Nunn, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

“The Lakers’ updated timeline on beginning to explore trade options is Dec. 15, and they are weighing three different paths, multiple team sources told The Athletic,” Buha wrote on December 1. “Here’s what you need to know: Path 1 is to trade Russell Westbrook, plus a pick or two, for a star or multiplayer haul. Path 2 is to trade some combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and picks (one first-round and/or multiple second-round picks) for role players who better address needs and upgrade the rotation. Path 3 would be two separate deals: one with Westbrook plus one first-round pick, another using a Beverley-Nunn-pick package.”

Crowder has career averages of 9.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists with the Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Suns. He’s a career 34.6% shooter from beyond the arc. Crowder’s 3-point shooting and defensive prowess could help the Lakers compete in the rugged Western Conference.

Report: Lakers Leaders Want a Trade to Occur

Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported on November 28 there is a belief shared by leaders in the Lakers’ locker room that the team is only a couple of players away from turning the group into a legitimate contender. The purple and gold are 10-13 on the season.

“There is belief shared by leaders in the Lakers’ locker room, sources said, that the team is only a couple of players away from turning this group into a legitimate contender,” McMenamin reported. “But acquiring the right players could take multiple trades.”

Crowder played 53 games with Lakers superstar LeBron James on the Cavaliers during the 2017-18 season. He’s appeared in 107 postseason games.

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