Jae Crowder may have put final nail in Phoenix Suns career

Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Jae Crowder’s career with the Phoenix Suns may be on a knife’s edge, at least according to the 32-year-old’s social media activity on Wednesday.

Crowder posted a cryptic message on Instagram, then pinned a tweet quite obviously linking him with a move back to the Miami Heat. He played the second half of the 2019-20 season with the franchise, playing a vital role in the team’s run to the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble.

This isn’t the first time Crowder’s hinted at a move this offseason, with the ten-year veteran also liking a tweet of himself in a Dallas Mavericks jersey less than a month ago. It’s a strange turn of events given Crowder’s relative success with the Suns over the past two seasons.

Crowder signed a three-year deal worth nearly $30 million with the Suns in 2020. He’s been a starter in every game he’s played since the start of last year’s playoffs, having started in 42 of a possible 60 regular season games prior to that.

His production did reduce last season though, averaging just 9.4 points per game – the lowest since his third season in the league. He also shot under 40% from the field, just the second time he’s done that since his rookie season.

With Crowder’s diminishing impact and the rise of the younger Cameron Johnson, many expect the latter to take the power-forward role in the Suns starting unit. Perhaps Crowder sees the writing on the wall and doesn’t want to except a relegation to the bench.

Maybe he sees an open opportunity at the Heat, with their respective power-forward from last season, PJ Tucker, leaving for the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency. Crowder still holds his value though, so Phoenix will want an upgrade or at the very least a comparative player in return.

Could we get to a stage where Crowder becomes a detriment simply being around the team? That appears unlikely at this stage, but there’s no doubt training camp will be interesting should he remain on the team by that point.