PHOENIX SUNS

Report: Bucks recently involved in Jae Crowder trade talks with Suns

Oct 24, 2022, 8:24 AM | Updated: 8:34 am

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder, right, blocks a shot by Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, ...

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder, right, blocks a shot by Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, center, during the second half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

(AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

The Phoenix Suns have started 2-1 this season without Jae Crowder, who has been away from the team as it aims to trade last year’s starting power forward.

And considering starting lineup replacement Cam Johnson has dealt with a few minor injuries and foul trouble to average 24 minutes per game — two fewer than he averaged in his reserve role last season — the Suns have found little reason not to remain patient on the Crowder trade front.

Interest in pursuing a Crowder trade apparently remains outside Phoenix as well.

The Milwaukee Bucks, according to a Monday report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, have “recently been engaged” in talks with the Suns.

Charania adds that the Miami Heat are among the “current suitors.” Miami had already been reportedly interested.

Trade avenues involving just the Bucks and Suns appear few and far between.

Guard Grayson Allen is the only one-for-one trade option on the board right now, but he is a starter and one of their few perimeter scoring threats outside of Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton.

Veteran forward Joe Ingles ($6.5 million), Pat Connaughton ($5.7 million) and Jordan Nwora ($3 million), are role players who could be combined to get a deal done for Crowder’s $10.1 million salary, but those players are not trade-eligible until mid-December or mid-January.

Regardless, Ingles is recovering from an ACL injury and won’t return until January as is, and Connaughton hasn’t played yet due to a calf issue that could sideline him at least two more weeks.

Suns general manager James Jones told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo before the team’s season opener that Phoenix was still seeking out trade opportunities to move Crowder.

“To Jae’s credit, Jae’s a pro. It’s not like Jae refuses to be a part of this,” Jones said on Oct. 19. “We just decided that for him and for us, it’s best that we pursue alternative options so both groups can move forward.”

Jones, however, did not completely close and lock the door on Crowder returning to the team.

“I’ll never say never,” Jones said. “As of today (on Oct. 19), we’re still pursuing other opportunities. That could change, but I’ll tell you right now we’ll pursue other opportunities.”

The 32-year-old Crowder averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists last year on 35% three-point shooting, giving the Suns a physical defensive presence inside.

The Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies and Heat are among the teams that dating back to the summer have reportedly had an interest in trading for the Phoenix forward.

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