Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst went on NBA Today to talk about the activity of the Phoenix Suns ahead of training camp.
Windhorst went into detail on a couple of topics, including trade negotiations:
“A lot of [the talks] are centered around Jae Crowder... who is available on the market right now. Whether or not there’s going to be a deal for him that materializes between now and next week’s [training camp]... we’ll have to wait and see.”
He alluded to Crowder’s contract expiring after the 2022-23 season, so in trade talks, it acts not only as a proven 3-and-D contributor to winning basketball, but also as $10.2 million expiring that may entice teams looking to open up future cap space.
As for who Crowder could be leveraged for, Windhorst mentioned a familiar name:
“It would not surprise me if the Suns get involved in the negotiations for Bojan Bogdanovic from the Utah Jazz... several teams are bidding for him.”
I made sure to cover the Bogdanovic base as he joined Dario Saric and Croatia through their EuroBasket run. Bogdanovic performed admirably there, averaging 19.2 points (48 FG% / 39 3P% / 87 FT%) and 5.2 rebounds in 32.1 minutes per game despite struggling in many defensive situations.
Our own John Voita also contributed to the Bogdanovic pitch here, where he stakes his claim that acquiring Bogdanovic should be a top priority.
Personally, I’d rather push for 7-foot wing Lauri Markkanen if the Suns are talking with Utah following an even better EuroBasket run for Finland, averaging 27.9 pts (54/40/91) and 8.1 rebs in just 28.4 min, leading Finland to the quarterfinals where they lost to eventual Gold-medalists Spain.
Markkanen would likely be a bit pricier in trade talks due to a couple factors:
- Age: Markkanen is eight years younger — 25 to Bogdanovic’s 33
- Contract situation: Markkanen has three years remaining and a total of $51.8 million ($17.3 annually) while Bogdanovic has only one year remaining at $19.3 million
...but I think it’s worth it, especially if we’re prioritizing Devin Booker’s contention window over Chris Paul’s window.
Speaking of prioritizing Booker’s window, Windhorst also touched on some extension negotiations that have been otherwise quiet this summer:
“They are negotiating — from what I’ve been told — with Cam Johnson on a contract extension. Now that wouldn’t affect this year’s salary... but it would also indicate that they are looking to invest long-term in another player and avoid a restricted free agency situation like they had with Deandre Ayton...”
About a week ago, Dave King delved into what an extension might look like for Johnson and whether it will exceed the mark Mikal Bridges set at 4-year/$90 million. I have a hard time seeing a world where it does due to the bench role Johnson’s played so far, but offense comes at a premium in this league, and Johnson is clearly past Bridges in that area of the game.
To sum up, Windhorst explained that “from the folks that I’m talking to, the Suns are operating like a championship contender looking to improve their team heading into camp.”
Better late than never after a mostly quiet (in basketball operations) summer, right?