Jae Crowder: Pending exit from Suns not about losing starting role

Oct 26, 2022, 10:15 AM

Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns reacts toward the Mavericks bench after scoring with a three po...

Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns reacts toward the Mavericks bench after scoring with a three point shot during the second half of Game Three of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at American Airlines Center on May 6, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Jae Crowder remains away from the Phoenix Suns and in limbo as the team seeks a trade for the former starting power forward. It’s presumed the franchise led by general manager James Jones wants to find a deal that lands pieces to help this year’s roster.

While the nature of Crowder and the Suns mutually finding an avenue to part ways is unknown, the forward through TNT reporter Chris Haynes clarified one thing on Tuesday night: His expected departure has nothing to do with Phoenix wanting to move Cam Johnson into the starting lineup.

“I had the chance to talk with him today and he gave me this quote to relay on here,” Haynes said on TNT’s broadcast of the Suns’ win against the Warriors.

“He said: ‘Honestly, this is unfamiliar ground for me. This is my 11th year and I’ve always been in camp and started the year off with my team. The business of basketball has taken its course and changes have come. I do not want to get into the details just yet, but it’s definitely not true of the narrative being pushed about me starting or not. I can honestly say that. I had two great years with my teammates and the fans of Phoenix. I do not take that for granted. I’m forever grateful for the moments we shared.'”

While it might not be about his role, it could be about money.

Crowder is under contract through the 2022-23 season and making $10.1 million this year. He averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last year, adding an edge on defense and streaks of strong shooting.

The 32-year-old was up for an extension this summer, and according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jake Fischer, commanding a deal similar to what backup forward Maxi Kleber of the Dallas Mavericks and Larry Nance of the New Orleans Pelicans got.

They each received multi-year extensions in the $11 million-per-year range, a reasonable price for Crowder even though he is a year older than Kleber and two years older than Nance.

Haynes said Crowder did not share with him whether any desired extension was at the heart of his ongoing attempt to find a new home.

In the latest updates about trade interest in Crowder, the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat remained in talks with Phoenix about acquiring the forward, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

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