Phoenix Suns address Jae Crowder’s uncertain future at media day

Sep 26, 2022, 11:29 AM | Updated: 8:18 pm
Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to fans after defeating the Golden State Warriors in the...
Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to fans after defeating the Golden State Warriors in the NBA game at Footprint Center on November 30, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Warriors 104-96. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jae Crowder’s days with the Phoenix Suns appear to be numbered as he and the organization mutually agreed he will miss training camp.

Crowder himself posted a video on Instagram hyping up his next move, which included a segment on ESPN in which reporter Brain Windhorst said the Suns discussed the veteran in trade talks this summer.

Suns general manager James Jones, head coach Monty Williams and several players at media day Monday addressed the situation surrounding someone who had a substantial role for Phoenix over the last two years.

“He brought a number of intangibles to the team, I think all of our guys would speak in that way about him,” Williams said. “At the same time, these things happen, and you have to transition and move forward. I totally am behind James and how we are handling this. All the stuff that went on behind the scenes will remain private.”

Privacy was also a theme of Jones’ comments, as he said his conversations with Crowder will remain so. But he noted that this is a difficult situation to navigate and the intention is to do so with respect to the team and those involved.

Jones said it gives the Suns the opportunity to build with the players present.

“After very fruitful and deliberate conversations, we just decided it was best that he wasn’t with us for training camp,” Jones said. “What that means going forward? I don’t know … as of right now, it allows us the opportunity to focus on the guys that are here.”

Crowder started for the Suns throughout their last two playoff runs. He scored 9.7 points per game in 217 contests over the last two regular seasons while hitting 36.9% of his three-pointers.

Williams felt that his younger players learned a lot from Crowder, who came to Phoenix an eight-year NBA veteran with playoff and NBA Finals experience.

Multiple Suns teammates held high regard for him on Monday, including point guard Chris Paul.

“What I know is that everybody has to do what’s best for them,” Paul said. “I’m always gonna support any one of my teammates, especially somebody like Jae, who is a huge reason why we were even successful the past few years.”

Devin Booker added: “I’d say it’s a little unfortunate. Jae came in here a couple years ago, and we’ve done a lot of really good things here. We’ve shaped and shifted this culture, but at the same time, I wish him the best moving forward. He’s a friend and a brother that I’ll have forever.”

Cam Johnson, who could slide into a greater role with Crowder away, said he’s focused on controlling what he can and is excited for every opportunity.

Williams said he likes where the roster is at, noting that many players have spent time working at the team facility.

He addressed that all teams lose players every year, and while he appreciates the contributions of those no longer with the Suns, he’s excited about who he has to work with this season.

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