The Phoenix Suns are on the clock.
No, this isn’t the months leading up to the 2018 NBA Draft, when Phoenix found themselves on the clock trying to figure out what to do with the number one overall pick. Can’t say I miss those days.
As the organization looks to strengthen its roster in preparation of the upcoming season, time is running out. There is little doubt that selling forward Jae Crowder, a veteran of ten years, is the best way to accomplish this. And they’ve made it known that they are shopping 99.
It’s tough breaking up a band. No one wanted to see the Beatles go their separate ways. Well, maybe Yoko.
Jae Crowder has been a part of some memorable moments over the last two seasons, seasons in which the Suns finally found their way into NBA relevance. From Salsa Jae, to ‘F*** Jae Crowder’, he has played with tenacity in crucial games and set the tone for a Suns team that is more finesse than aggressive.
Jae Crowder is aging, however. He knows it. Crowder, 32, is on the last year of his three-year, $29 million contract with Phoenix. He understands that if he wants one more bag, one final chance to cash in on his skill set in the NBA, being a member of the Suns may not be the way to do it.
Devin Booker leads a strong young core that includes Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Cameron Johnson. Johnson appears to be the heir apparent to the starting power forward position, and Crowder may share time with him as the season unfolds. That’s not the way to earn that final non-veteran minimum deal.
We’ve seen the cryptic Tweets and Instagram posts. Jae has made it no secret that he’s ready for the next opportunity in his career.
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE.. GROWTH IS OPTIONAL.!! I BELIEVE ITS TIME FOR A CHANGE… I WANNA CONTINUE GROWING.!— JAE CROWDER (@CJC9BOSS) August 1, 2022
Phoenix is constructing not just a contender, but a championship favorite. To do this and benefit all parties concerned, moving Crowder is not just a wise decision, but also the correct one. The way you treat your players speaks volumes about your team and your organization. Putting Jae in a situation where he can succeed, rather than just discarding him, is important in the NBA.
So where can the Suns trade Jae? Um...how about the New York Knicks?
That’s right. My suggestion is to add another ‘Cam’ to the roster. Just imagine the marketing possibilities. Tri-Cam lineups, anyone?
Before you bite my head off or cast me to the Upside Down (I’m all caught up on Stranger Things, I’m happy to report…and tired of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill), hear me out.
The New York Knicks haven’t seen the best of Cam Reddish, nor has anybody in the NBA. The highly touted prospect from Duke has yet to reach his potential. He played 15 games in NYC after being traded from the Atlanta Hawks last season, averaging a mere 6.1 points in 14.3 minutes with the Knickerbockers. The 6’8” forward has a career VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) of -0.9. He’s a career 32.5% three-point shooter.
Why in the name of Vecna would I recommend trading Jae Crowder for Cam Reddish and a first round pick? And why would I reference Stranger Things twice in one piece, especially considering the fourth season dropped in May and July? The latter is because I’m late to everything. The former? Because 4-D chess is a game James Jones plays.
First and foremost, the Knicks want to return to the playoffs and adding Jalen Brunson this past offseason might now be enough. Two seasons ago, they were a four seed after going 41-31 in a pandemic-shortened season. It was so incredible that the Knicks made the playoffs for the first time in eight years that Tom Thibodeau was named Coach of the Year. Over Monty Williams. I’m petty enough to never forget and always remind.
The addition of Jae Crowder is a clear upgrade over Cam Reddish. You receive a veteran who possesses 107 games of playoff experience on a roster that has a combined 120 playoff games – 51 of those from Derrick Rose – who knows how to irritate the competition. He’d revel in the bright lights in the Garden.
It’s a win for the Knicks.
What is a win for the Suns? It surely isn’t Cam Reddish. But that first round pick? That is what is appealing to Phoenix.
The Knicks have four first round picks in the 2023 NBA Draft. They have the Detroit Pistons’ pick (Top-18 protected), the Washington Wizards’ pick (Top-14 protected), the Dallas Mavericks’ pick (Top-10 protected, left over from the Kristaps Porzingis deal), and of course their own. Throw us one or two of those picks to get rid of Cam Reddish. We’ll send you Jae.
If Phoenix can obtain any of those selections, it will be a major win for the team. Why? We all know that James Jones is no longer in the business of developing first-round choices, right? It’s because the Suns can utilize that first-round selection, along with their own and another team asset, to go big game hunting.
Shai Gilggeous-Alexander, former first round target of the Suns in the 2018 NBA Draft, is not in an ideal situation over in OKC. As our buddy Flex from Jersey stated on the most recent episode of the Suns JAM Session Podcast, given his age and the state of the Oklahoma City Thunder relative to their timeframe and their version of the Sixers’ 1”Process”, SGA does not align with their timeline.
The Suns own all of their impending draft selections for the rest of the decade, which is the exception rather than the rule in the NBA these days. IF they can take some of those picks, add in a roster asset or two, and sprinkle in the New York Knicks picks, perhaps pick-hoarding Sam Presti will pull the trigger on a deal with Phoenix.
It would have to be quite the haul to match the 5 year, $179M contract that Gilgeous-Alexander possesses. But it is possible. Add a pick or two from New York to the trade below:
It’d be a match made in heaven. Or better yet, Phoenix.
SGA has already had experience playing in three guard lines as he started alongside Chris Paul in 2019-20, and other from strengthening the team’s guard depth, Shai is on the same timetable as the Phoenix Suns’ core. As Chris Paul’s career isn’t only on the back nine, it’s entering the clubhouse, SGA could play behind him for one year and then take the reins moving forward.
This series of moves would fortify this year’s lineup as well as set the franchise up for continual success. That’s something that is quite appealing to anyone in the market for buying an NBA franchise. The time to win is now. Sooner or later, you’ll have to part with Jae Crowder. Why not do it in an effort to set your team up for years to come?
Perhaps I’ve been playing too much NBA2k and the possibility of pulling off this transaction is 0.09%. Perhaps the deal to New York could happen prior to the season and the SGA deal could happen by the trade deadline, depending on the state of the Suns. Perhaps its too good to be true.
But we’ve seen...stranger things..happen.