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Stein: Teams worried about Jae Crowder’s conditioning, ability to help this season

The Phoenix Suns want to upgrade from Jae Crowder, but other teams are worried about his conditioning

NBA: Playoffs-Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We are about two weeks out from the 2023 NBA trade deadline, February 9, and my biggest worry right now is that a lot of conditions are setting up against the Phoenix Suns in their pursuit to help the 2023 squad beyond just ‘getting healthy’.

The always missing but never forgotten Jae Crowder has been sitting at home all season, pouting in a corner over not getting a contract extension and/or losing his starting job to Cam Johnson and/or just being weird.

And for some reason, the Suns are enabling this behavior by telling him not only is it okay to sit at home but also that they’re going to go ahead and PAY HIM $10 MILLION DOLLARS this year to do it.

The relationship between the Suns and Jae Crowder went from loving to hating so quickly, and so profoundly, that neither side even reconsidered this incredible position when 6 of the top 7 remaining rotation players got injured and the team were in the middle of losing 17 out of 22 games!

Suns GM James Jones is looking for a trading partner, and he wants to get a comparable or better player for Crowder — who was a starting player for the last two seasons in Phoenix — but the NBA is so weird this season that nobody is selling yet...unless you’re willing to part with multiple first round picks for average rotation players, that is.

And now, four months into the season, just as teams are starting to think about getting off their high horses and make some real deals, another consideration has come to bite the Suns.

Per Marc Stein, who’s got connects in many NBA front offices, teams are worried now that Jae Crowder has taken so much time off that he might not be able to win a foot race against today’s Oliver Miller.

That doesn’t mean teams won’t trade for Crowder. They’re just trying to tamp down Crowder’s value ahead of negotiations.

This is ridiculous of course. First of all, any player acquired in February needs time to acclimate to his new team. Crowder would be no different than anyone else on that end.

Second of all, Crowder likely would be in fine shape upon being acquired. Just look at Bismack Biyombo last year. He sat out half the season and signed a 10-day contract with the Suns when they lost both Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee to COVID/injury at the same time. On basically the day he joined the Suns, he posted a double-double.

Jae will be fine. The Suns will be fine.

It’s just annoying, is all. Let’s get this thing done already.

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