3 reasons the Phoenix Suns and Jae Crowder should temporarily reunite

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Jae Crowder made waves over the offseason with a series of controversial tweets, before his request to leave the Phoenix Suns was made official nearly three weeks ago.

While trade speculation continues to prosper, there’s no major movement on the Crowder situation. If this continues unresolved, should the two parties consider an unlikely short-term reunion?

We’ve already seen a precedence in the last few months, albeit with a completely different level of player. Two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant eventually reneged on his trade request from the Brooklyn Nets, acknowledging a deal was never going to be forthcoming.

A temporary reconciliation could be mutually beneficial for the Phoenix Suns and Jae Crowder ahead of the NBA regular season.

There’s a few reasons as to why Crowder’s return to Phoenix could be advantageous, so let’s unpack them from each side of the table.

1. Phoenix actually need Crowder

This feels ironic given Crowder’s initial request emerged because he felt unwanted and undervalued. The Suns were unwilling to give him a contract extension, while Cameron Johnson was always touted to replace him the starting lineup.

There’s little doubt Phoenix have missed Crowder throughout preseason. The team has lacked the hard-nosed defensive edge he provides, an issue that’ll likely carry through to the regular season. He may not feel wanted by the franchise, but the 32-year-old could still be regarded as their designated sixth man.

Phoenix Suns’ Jae Crowder and Cameron Johnson with Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Jackson. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns’ Jae Crowder and Cameron Johnson with Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Jackson. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

2. Crowder’s value to rival teams

A number of teams have been linked to Crowder over the past fortnight, including Eastern Conference contenders the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks. But it appears that when push comes to shove, those teams are unwilling to orchestrate a package Phoenix feel comfortable with.

Perhaps that’s a Suns issue, but maybe it’s because the rival teams simply don’t value Crowder highly enough. That would be a fair perspective; last time we saw the veteran forward he shot just 30.2% from three across a 13-game playoff run. He also averaged just 4.7 rebounds, down from 6.1 in the 2021 postseason. Does Crowder need to get back on the floor to increase his value for prospective teams?

3. Suns best trade options will come in the new year

Patience can prove bountiful in situations like this. Again, it’s a different stature of player, but look what Daryl Morey did with Ben Simmons last season; he held the young All-Star for months and months before eventually moving him for a better player in James Harden.

That attitude may be even more important heading into this season. With the ultimate prize of Victor Wenbenyama or Scoot Henderson on the line for rebuilding teams, valuable assets will become more widely available and at a cheaper price once full tank mode sets in.

If Phoenix understand this, then communicate the plan with Crowder and see if he’ll return for a short period in the meantime. Such a proposal would be ideal for him; a trade to a rebuilding team would likely lead to a buyout, allowing him to negotiate a deal with any team he wishes.

Next. Phoenix Suns appear unwilling to move on from Landry Shamet. dark

This isn’t advocating for a complete withdrawal of the trade request, but perhaps both parties can take a more mature approach over the next two months or so. It doesn’t appear, at least publicly, that Crowder’s relationship with former teammates has broken down entirely. He could be welcomed back with open arms, even if everyone acknowledges he won’t be a part of another Suns playoff run.