Jae Crowder may be on the trading block, and the veteran wing reportedly would be happy reuniting with the Miami Heat.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald: "We hear Jae Crowder would welcome a return to the Heat and ESPN's Brian Windhorst—while not mentioning the Heat or any team—said the Phoenix Suns are 'in trade negotiations right now. A lot of them are centered around Crowder. Crowder is a player who is available on the market right now.'"
Crowder, 32, last played for the Heat in the 2019-20 season, joining the team in a midseason trade from the Memphis Grizzlies. He helped Miami reach the NBA Finals, averaging 12 points and 5.6 rebounds in 31.4 minutes per game as a starter during that run, shooting 34.2 percent from the field.
He then signed a three-year, $29.1 million deal with the Phoenix Suns, and again helped lead the team to the NBA Finals while averaging 10.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game during that playoff run.
But while Crowder shot 38 percent from three that postseason, that number dropped to 30.2 percent last year in Phoenix's disappointing second-round exit against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.
His regular-season averages also took a small hit:
- 2020-21 Season: 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 40.4 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from three.
- 2021-22 Season: 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 39.9 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from three.
As for why the Suns may be shopping Crowder, it would appear they are looking for an upgrade in the starting lineup.
Per Windhorst (h/t Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic): "Folks that I'm talking to, they don't get the sense that the Suns are afraid to continue to spend. It would not surprise me if the Suns get involved in the negotiations for Bojan Bogdanovic from the Utah Jazz ... several teams are bidding for him."
The Heat would be an obvious location for Crowder, giving them a tough, 3-and-D wing to replace the departed P.J. Tucker. The issue would be matching his $10.1 million contract and sending back a player the Suns were interested.
Would the Suns want to take on Duncan Robinson's $16.9 million salary, for instance? Probably not. Victor Oladipo wouldn't make much sense with Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges holding down the starting spots on the wing.
The Heat may have interest in Crowder, and vice versa, but it's hard to find a logical swap between the teams unless a third organization gets involved.