Nets reportedly redirect former Suns F Jae Crowder to Bucks

Feb 9, 2023, 10:17 AM | Updated: 10:19 am
Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on M...
Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on March 27, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the 76ers 114-104. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns traded Jae Crowder to the Nets as salary filler in the Kevin Durant mega-blockbuster agreed to Wednesday night, and it’s taken mere hours for Brooklyn to redirect him to the Milwaukee Bucks.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Crowder will join a top Eastern Conference contender for the cost of five second-round picks.

It’s a three-team deal that also sends wing Jordan Nwora to the Pacers, with Indiana receiving two of those second-rounders.

The Bucks and Suns had conversations dating back months regarding Crowder but failed to find a deal despite attempts at bringing in other teams. Crowder had not joined the team due to what Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro reports was a rift with head coach Monty Williams.

Crowder, 32, spent the last two seasons with Phoenix after signing a three-year, $29 million contract before the 2020-21 season. His expiring contract is worth $10.2 million.

Across two years, he averaged 9.7 points, five rebounds and two assists in 27.8 minutes per game as the starting power forward.

Crowder was integral to the Suns quickly becoming one of the NBA’s elite teams as a veteran leader and crucial part of the Suns’ defense that brought a much-needed level of savvy and toughness to a young group.

His departure ends what was less of a saga and more of a story the public is still seeking more clarity on.

On Sept. 23, Crowder tweeted and then quickly deleted that he would not be at training camp. Two days later, the Suns announced that the two sides had come to a mutual agreement that Crowder would not be with the team and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported they were working out a trade for Crowder.

Crowder used social media here and there during last offseason to be cryptic about his future in Phoenix. He liked an image on Twitter of him playing for the Dallas Mavericks, liked a tweet from a Miami Heat reporter calling Crowder a possible Heat trade target and pinned an Instagram comment from a Heat fan telling the franchise that fans want Crowder back in Miami.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Crowder was told he might lose his starting spot to forward Cam Johnson, one Johnson took since the developments with Crowder. The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported Crowder, in the last year of his deal, was also seeking a contract extension.

On Jan. 13, Crowder released a statement through Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, saying the “move of pushing me out the door was a blindsided hit to not only me but my teammates” and that he was “confused and hurt my coaches didn’t appreciate the things I brought to our team and organization.” Crowder said it did not have to do with contract negotiations but once again didn’t provide any details on what caused the rift.

Gambadoro reported back in late June that Crowder’s name had been discussed on the trade market.

Without Crowder, the Suns’ defense dropped off considerably, numbers that can also be attributed to the amount of injuries they had halfway through the season. That included a torn meniscus for Johnson eight games into the season.

Being traded is nothing new to Crowder. The 10-year veteran has now been dealt for the seventh time in his NBA career.

Crowder was drafted 34th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2012 NBA Draft and was traded one day later to the Dallas Mavericks. After two-plus seasons with Dallas, Crowder was acquired by the Boston Celtics and then re-signed with them in the 2015 offseason as a restricted free agent for a five-year deal.

The forward played for two more years with Boston before being involved in the blockbuster that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston and Crowder, plus a few others to Cleveland. For that 2017-18 season with Cleveland, Crowder was dealt at the trade deadline as part of a three-team move that placed him on the Utah Jazz.

Crowder’s time with the Jazz ran the rest of that season and the next before, you guessed it, he was traded again. This time, he functioned again as one of the key assets for a team bringing in a point guard, as Utah got Mike Conley from the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2019 offseason.

The 2019-20 season wouldn’t end for Crowder in Memphis. The Miami Heat would acquire Crowder at the deadline to help them successfully reach the 2020 NBA Finals.

That summer of 2020 is when Crowder got to be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career and he chose Phoenix.

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