After Jae Crowder posted a cryptic Instagram story of a clock emoji on Wednesday, veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein tweeted that he has heard “credible rumors” suggesting the Suns have made progress on finding a trade involving the forward.
Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports corroborates Stein’s report, stating (via Twitter) that he heard prior to Wednesday’s game vs. Golden State that the Suns appeared close to finalizing a three-team deal involving Crowder.
Crowder, who is in a contract year and is dissatisfied with his situation in Phoenix, has been away from the club all season as the team works toward finding him a new home. Because the Suns have championship aspirations, they’ve sought a win-now return rather than one centered on draft assets or prospects.
Although Phoenix has yet to find a taker for Crowder a month into the regular season, there was a sense that Cameron Johnson‘s knee injury could create some additional urgency for the front office, since Johnson’s absence created another hole on the wing.
Unfortunately, neither Stein’s report nor Fischer’s goes into any detail about which teams may be involved in the most recent Crowder trade talks. The Heat, Bucks, and Hawks have previously been identified as potential suitors, but there are many more clubs around the league that could use a three-and-D piece like Crowder and could realistically take on his $10.2MM expiring contract.
Fischer’s note that the Suns have been discussing a three-team scenario opens another door for a “mystery” club to emerge as part of a deal. If a third team needs to get involved, it may be an indication that the team acquiring Crowder isn’t willing to offer the sort of veteran contributor who could help the Suns right away, necessitating that win-now piece comes from elsewhere.