PHOENIX SUNS

Report: Suns rejected Jae Crowder trade offer from Wizards

Dec 22, 2022, 12:57 PM
Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns looks on against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth q...
Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns looks on against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter at Moda Center on December 14, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns rejected a trade proposal from the Washington Wizards for forward Jae Crowder, according to Marc Stein.

The deal was believed to feature Rui Hachimura, according to Stein.

Hachimura was the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft out of Gonzaga. The fourth-year forward has mainly been a starter in Washington, and while he has been productive, it is with some mixed success.

The 24-year-old was averaging 11.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game while shooting 48.1% from the field 16 games into his 2022-23 campaign before an ankle injury put him on the shelf.

He’s a career 35.8% shooter from 3-point range, an area of Hachimura’s game that still lacks consistency at this point. As a fourth-year player, he’s also set to hit restricted free agency this offseason.

Phoenix rejecting a move involving Hachimura makes sense given the direction of its wing rotation at the moment. At this stage in his career, Hachimura is still figuring out how to use his physical gifts to consistently impact winning, a journey that would put him clearly below Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson in the pecking order, and probably Torrey Craig as well.

Giving up Crowder, one of the Suns’ six most important players last season, for a fourth wing doesn’t whet the appetite.

Stein’s reporting backs that up. He notes in his newsletter that the Suns are “holding out for a certifiable starter in a Crowder deal.”

Logically, that means Phoenix is willing to attach draft assets to Crowder in order to make that happen.

The three teams “widely regarded as the veteran swingman’s most ardent suitors” lie in the Eastern Conference with the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat, according to Stein.

Crowder has not played this year after he and the Suns mutually agreed to find him a new home shortly before training camp. The reasons for that still have not been 100% defined.

He is in the last season of the three-year deal Phoenix signed him to in free agency two summers ago.

Life without Crowder has had some expected setbacks. A torn meniscus for Johnson really put the wing group in a difficult spot after Johnson’s numbers with the starting lineup were sensational.

Both Bridges and Craig haven’t been as good defensively this season as last year, and that plus Crowder’s absence has the team’s defensive rating trending in a direction that could soon have it fall outside of the league’s top-10. That’s the end of the floor where Crowder kept everyone in check and connected more than anyone else on the team.

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