James Jones and the Phoenix Suns are in a precarious situation as they prepare to embark on the new season. Jae Crowder wants out, isn’t at training camp, and will most likely never be seen again in a Suns jersey.
Such as the business of the NBA.
Crowder is looking for that final opportunity to make one last substantial contract in his career. Doing their due diligence, the Phoenix Suns have been shopping in Crowder for quite some time. Nothing has come to fruition, however, and he still remains a distraction for his former teammates during training camp.
Like a Fleetwood Mac album, rumors are running rampant as to where the final destination for Crowder would be and what type of deal will occur in an effort to get them there. The newest bit of information comes from Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and Suns’ insider John Gambadoro, who offered up the information that the Cleveland Cavaliers might be the target for Crowder.
Just an FYI in two games against the Suns last season Cedi Osman shot 16-30 from the field, 11-19 from three-point range and scored 43 points. His name has been rumored as a trade candidate for Jae Crowder.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) September 29, 2022
It should be a great fit for Crowder, rejoining the organization for which he played 53 games for in 2017-18, although it might put them in the same situation he currently is with the Suns. That situation? Playing without a clearly defined starting role.
The Cavaliers are a young team on the rise, bursting at the seams with talent. They are led by Darius Garland at the point and added Donovan Mitchell in the offseason. Cleveland rosters talented wings in Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro, with second-year stud forward/center Evan Mobley roaming the paint.
Given the fact that they have Jarrett Allen on the roster as well, the starting power forward and center positions are spoken for. If Phoenix trades Jae to the ‘Forest City’, he’ll be battling for playing time at small forward with Dean Wade, who just signed a three year, $18.5M deal on Tuesday.
If the Suns were to make a trade with the Cavaliers, per Gambadoro, it would be for Cedi Osman. He is a duplicative player on the team, and with Wade signing a new deal, it would make sense that Cleveland would want to move on from him.
So who is Cedi Osman?
As Gambo mentioned in his tweet, he is someone he has shown up when playing against the Suns. In 6 career games against Phoenix - 3 of them starts – Osman has scored 13.8 points on 46.5% from beyond the arc.
While the only exposure we’ve seen of him is Osman lighting up the Suns, that’s exception, not the rule.
The 6’7” native of North Macedonia was the 31st overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, taken one pick after Kevon Looney and one pick before Montrezl Harrell. Cedi, who’s Basketball-Reference nickname is “Jedi” (I can get behind that) has spent his entire NBA career in Cleveland.
The 27 year-old is in the third year of his four-year, $31.1M contract, with next year not being fully guaranteed. Osman has career splits of 42.3/34.9/71.8. He has been inconsistent throughout his career, and while he has been a fan favorite, he has become the odd man out.
Early in his career, before the Cavaliers began effectively rebuilding, Osman was a starter for the team. From 2018 to 2020, he started 140 of the 141 games he appeared in. As the team has progressed, however, he has been relegated to a bench role. That what he’d be doing in Phoenix as well.
He doesn’t bring the size or physicality to play the backup four, which is an area of opportunity for Phoenix as they finalize their roster for the 2022-23 season. His addition, if Gambo is correct, would simply be a way to move on from Crowder, gaining a contract that is not guaranteed next year, which would open up some money in the future.
Hopefully a pick or two, or the inclusion of a young player like Isaac Okoro in the way that the Suns tried to get Jarred Vanderbilt in a Utah/Bojan trade, can come along with Cedi.
Stay tuned, Suns fans.