Where is Crowder likely to end up and what can we get back in return?

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

In the midst of my BSoTS hiatus, I took a break from the everyday workload to feed a curiosity. The only cure was looking at all 29 other teams to figure out where Phoenix Suns forward Crowder might end up.

I figure the Suns will likely only trade Crowder to a winning (or close to winning) organization. Jones has done right by players so far and I think he keeps that up to make Crowder happy too. The way I worked the research, my target using the Jazz's desire to suck this coming year to take on much of the money in the trades with a third team. That means the Jazz will likely only take on expiring deals, and/or preferably young guys they could take a look at.

The parameters of what I am presenting:

  • All trades involve Markkanen going to the Suns.
  • All trades involve Torrey Craig going to Utah on an expiring deal.
  • All trades involve expiring deals being sent to Utah- with the exception of one player in one trade.
  • All trades involve Crowder going to the third team, with the thought that Utah would not be a suitable place for Crowder to land.
  • Crowder must be an upgrade over the out-going players for the third team.
  • All trades work in ESPN's trade machine.
  • No trades include trade exceptions or picks, but obviously that could be (and would be a likely) part of any deal.

Why Markkanen?

That seemed like the best player we would want out of Utah. I like Vanderbilt too, and would love to have both of them. Yet, I wanted to keep the scenarios relatively "clean" and simple.

From Utah’s side, Lauri makes roughly $17m/year for three years (last year not fully guaranteed). If Ainge really wants to tank and to have maximum flexibility, he would want to unload this particular player because he has the largest contract of the team. Lastly, Markkanen is now 25 years old, with his contract expiring when he is 28. If the Jazz are going to bottom out and rebuild, by the time the team is on the upswing his contract will need to be extended- and Lauri could be ill-fitted to play with a younger core.

Some other info:

  • One could trade Saric to Utah instead of Craig and the trades still work. Vanderbilt works in the trade if we send both Saric and Craig to Utah.

  • Furthermore, if one wanted to trade for Markkanen and Clarkson, we could send Cam Payne to Utah along with Saric and (in theory) get both players from Utah.

My main point here was figuring out who the Suns could actually trade Crowder to while obtaining desirable players from Utah since that is where the NBA's fire-sale is happening.

Based on the rules I set up above, I only found five possible teams that seemed plausible for a trade based on whether teams had expiring deals that matched the money required, for Utah's sake.

This list is a guess of a descending order of what PHX/Crowder would prefer:

Trade 1:

Toronto gets Crowder

Utah takes on K. Birch, D. Banton, and T. Craig ($6.7m expiring deals, with Birch on a $6.7m 2yr deal)

PHX gets Markkanen

Trade 2:

Chicago gets Crowder

Utah takes on C. White, T. Bradley, and T. Craig ($14.6m expiring deals)

PHX gets Markkanen

Trade 3: (I think this would be a good fit, playing next to Sabonis)

Sacramento gets Crowder

Utah takes on T. Davis, C. Metu, KZ Okpala, and T. Craig ($12.8m expiring deals)

PHX gets Markkanen

Trade 4: (Dangerous trade in a way... Crowder returns to where he started his career to the team that knocked us out)

Dallas gets Crowder

Utah takes on D. Powell and T. Craig ($16.2m expiring deals)

PHX gets Markkanen

Trade 5: (this seems unlikely because they are a losing team, but maybe Jae wants to build up another young team?)

OKC gets Crowder

Utah takes on D. Favors, T. Craig ($15.3m expiring deals)

PHX gets Markkanen