The subject of former Heat forward Jae Crowder’s mutual separation from the Suns came up in a conversation with an NBA general manager, and I mentioned that I like his game and believe the 6-foot-6 forward should be playing an important role on a good team.
“I do, too,” the GM replied. “The thing is, he WAS doing that. I like him a lot, but I don’t think he’s helping himself here.”
Crowder is on the final year of his deal at $10.2 million and was looking for more of a commitment from Phoenix. It would seem the Suns could use the glue-guy things he provides. They sit at 19-13 after a loss to the wobbly Wizards, but the club insists it’s on board with Crowder sitting out until it can find a trade that works.
“He just didn’t show up,” the general manager told Heavy Sports. “He said he’s not playing unless he gets a contract extension that he wants. I think a lot of teams are turned off by that in and of itself. Like, ‘What? You don’t want to play for one of the best teams in the NBA and PROVE that you’re worth it so you can get a contract next year? Like, you’re not that good, bro. What are you doing?’ It’s a weird dynamic. It’s one thing if Kevin Durant’s holding out because he’s not getting paid enough, but Jae Crowder? Seriously?”
Crowder Would Get Paid if He’d Play
The exec repeated that he’s a fan of Crowder’s style and contributions.
“I just don’t understand this, and I’m not alone,” he said. “He was playing a great role, and he fit into their team — and they’re a good team. And he was surrounded by some great players that could have made him look better. All you’ve got to do is shoot 40% from 3 and play the role that you’ve always played, and you probably ARE going to get paid. If not by Phoenix, then someone’s going to pay you. He just had to play the year and show that he’s a great leader and has a great attitude.”
As for rumors of possible deals involving Crowder that have surfaced, the source said, “Phoenix is leaking all sorts of things out there periodically, but I think it’s mostly just to try to stir up some interest.”
Meanwhile, Crowder is staying ready to grab his sneakers and suitcase.
More Moves Cooking for the Jazz
Utah has cooled off after its 10-3 start, but being over .500 isn’t the best position for a franchise hoping to reconstruct itself with some high draft picks.
One Eastern Conference exec believes Danny Ainge still has to jettison some talent to acquire more opportunities at a golden lottery ticket — either through its own pick or that of another club.
“I think he’s got more moves to make,” said the source. “They’re playing well, but this is not really where they wanted to go. He (Ainge) wanted to be in the (Victor) Wembanyama sweepstakes. He can still do that.”
And while there is a report that the Jazz are discussing a contract extension with Jordan Clarkson, who has a $14.3 million player option for next season, this executive believes he’d be a valuable trade chip for Utah.
“I think he could get them a lot,” he said. “The guy just gets buckets, and he gets them in bunches. You can play him as a starter or you can play him off the bench. He’s had both roles, and he’s been good at both of them. You could plug him into your team now and he’ll make you better.
“I can see why Utah likes him and might want to keep him, but they have to weigh how soon they think they can be good. And as far as what they’d be after, I can tell you the only thing Danny wants is a contract to match and he wants draft picks.”