Sixers Solve Closing Lineup Crisis in Proposed Trade for $29 Million Wing

jae crowder philadelphia 76ers

Getty Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns.

Looking up and down the Philadelphia 76ers‘ closing lineup, it’s fair to wonder if something is missing. Philly’s likely final five of Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Tobias Harris, PJ Tucker, and Joel Embiid have a middling plus-5.8 points per 100 possessions.

The team’s best five, on the other hand, switches out Harden for Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia’s best defender, to the effect of a plus-33.4 point differential. It suggests that the Sixers need an infusion of defense into that closing five to get it truly firing on all cylinders. Thankfully, it’s the early days of trade season, meaning the Sixers will have a chance to fix any roster problems with an infusion of outside talent.

And in a recently proposed trade from Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the Philadelphia 76ers could get close up any holes with the closing lineup by adding Phoenix’s $29 million wing Jae Crowder. Here’s what Buckley drew up:

Philadelphia 76ers receive: Jae Crowder

Phoenix Suns receive: Matisse Thybulle, Georges Niang and Jaden Springer

“Starting with the Sixers, Crowder would fit like a tailored suit. He’d fill the same complementary, defense-first role as P.J. Tucker, only Crowder is five years younger and less hesitant to launch on offense. Four spots of Philly’s closing playoff lineup are obvious, but Crowder could enter the discussion for that final one.”

Sixers Have Significant Competition to Land Crowder

At the start of the season, Crowder issued a trade demand to the Suns, with the Heat, Mavericks, Bucks, and Celtics all reportedly interested in the two-way wing.

But this week, Sam Amico of Hoops Wire upped the ante. While there’s been significant league interest in acquiring the playoff-tested wing, two teams have emerged as the clear favorites.

“The Bucks and Heat are viewed as the frontrunners for the veteran small forward, as the Suns would be hesitant to send him to a Western team, particularly a West contender sources said.”

The Bucks represent stiff competition for Crowder’s services. Milwaukee is viewed as a legitimate Finals favorite, with superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo keeping things close with Luka Doncic in the MVP race.

But Philadelphia might have something that neither the Bucks nor Heat can offer: a veritable power forward.

Suns Looking to Bring in a Power Forward in Crowder Trade

According to ESPN insider Brian Windhorst, the Suns are looking to net a power forward in any Crowder deal.

The problem for Milwaukee and Miami? Neither team has an expendable power forward. Unless Miami wants to throw in rookie Nikola Jovic, who’s in the midst of a decent season, there’s really no one on the roster to send Phoenix’s way. Ditto for Milwaukee, unless they want to move Bobby Portis, who was instrumental to Milwaukee’s Finals run two seasons ago.

Philadelphia, on the other hand, has a power forward that the entire city is ready to trade out of town: Tobias Harris. There would have to be some serious contract-matching since Harris makes $30-plus million and Crowder makes less than $10 million annually, but if both sides are motivated, it could happen. Philadelphia gets the added bonus of getting out of Harris’ contract, opening up significant cap space for another deal.

Phoenix, though, isn’t looking to add any significant salary to its books. Negotiations with Atlanta over John Collins reportedly broke down because of Collins’ significant salary (he’s in the second year of a five-year $125 million contract). Harris’ contract becomes an expiring one next season, though, making it far less of a long-term commitment than Collins’.

Read More