15 People who turned their backs on the Phoenix Suns

These former Suns did not leave on the best terms.
Phoenix Suns, Robert Horry
Phoenix Suns, Robert Horry / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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The Phoenix Suns are still searching for their first championship. They have reached the NBA Finals three times and are no strangers to success, but the franchise has been unable to win it all. They employed plenty of legends, including Steve Nash, and have the fifth-best winning percentage in league history. Still, it has not been all sunshine in the Valley of the Sun.

The Suns are no strangers to front-office blunders. There have been botched trades, failed draft picks, and free-agent disasters that caused Phoenix to miss the playoffs for a decade straight from 2011 to 2021. There is no guarantee they stay in contention for long. It is on their leadership to make sure they have enough talent to succeed.

Miscues are not always on the owner or front office. Sometimes, players betray the organization by demanding a trade or trash-talking after their exit. The Suns are no strangers, and these people certainly fit the criteria.

15. Jae Crowder

Crowder joined the Suns as a free agent in 2020. He was fresh off helping the Heat reach the NBA Finals inside the bubble and was a starter as Phoenix played its way into the NBA Finals in 2021. The 6’6 forward filled a key role as a defender and floor spacer on the Suns for two seasons before things went south.

They lost to the Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs in 2022 and refused to give Crowder an extension after the season. The Suns also wanted to move Cameron Johnson into the starting lineup and begin playing Crowder off the bench. The 26-year-old was entering his prime, and the Suns wanted him to take on more responsibility.

Crowder was unhappy and requested a trade. He refused to show up to training camp and missed the majority of the season before Phoenix finally traded him to the Bucks at the 2023 deadline. This was the deal that brought in Kevin Durant and derailed that young Suns’ core.

Jae Crowder was unhappy with the organization, but refusing to play while under contract was a clear sign of turning his back on the organization. The veteran forward is certainly not the only one in recent years.