Suns Rumors: Crowder, Ayton, Draft, Johnson, Batum

The Suns have made calls to rival teams in an effort to gauge Jae Crowder‘s value on the trade market, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Crowder, who will turn 32 in July, will earn $10.18MM in 2022/23 before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. The veteran forward has played his usual three-and-D role in Phoenix for the last two seasons, averaging 9.7 PPG and 5.0 RPG with a .369 3PT% in 127 games (27.8 MPG) during that time. He would likely have positive value as a trade chip, though he wouldn’t command a massive return.

Fischer also reports that Suns officials have been conveying to teams and “other external league personnel” that they’re open to matching a maximum-salary offer sheet for Deandre Ayton, despite persistent rumors that they’d prefer not to pay him the max (including a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on Wednesday).

Rival suitors interested in Ayton will have to determine whether they believe the Suns would match a max offer sheet — if they do, negotiating a sign-and-trade deal would be the most logical path to getting the former No. 1 overall pick out of Phoenix.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Phoenix is believed to be in the market for a second-round pick in today’s draft, according to Fischer.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 throws cold water on some recent rumors related to the Suns, reporting (via Twitter) that Phoenix has no interest in trading Cameron Johnson in a deal for the No. 8 overall pick and adding (via Twitter) that he also doesn’t expect the team to have serious interest in free agent forward Nicolas Batum or Knicks wing Cam Reddish.
  • In a fascinating Insider-only article for, Kevin Arnovitz takes a look at how differently the Suns approach scouting and the draft compared to other NBA teams. According to Arnovitz, Phoenix hasn’t even completed a draft board ranking prospects for the past three years. “Our draft board would be a mockery to other teams,” senior analyst of personnel and team evaluation Zach Amundson told ESPN. “By the time we were done, we had only five to seven guys on our draft board.”
  • As Arnovitz outlines, the Suns’ unorthodox evaluation strategy played a part in their decision to draft Johnson 11th overall in 2019 after trading down from No. 6. At the time, the pick was widely panned and considered a reach. “We were prepared to take him sixth if we had to,” VP of basketball strategy and evaluation Ryan Resch told ESPN.
View Comments (26)