The Wizards appear to be among the trade suitors for Suns forward Jae Crowder, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his latest Hoop Collective podcast. Crowder has sat out the entire 2022/23 season as Phoenix has looked to move him, and Washington is in the market for a three-and-D type player.
“There’s been some chatter about them looking at a guy like Jae Crowder,” Windhorst said of the Wizards (hat tip to RealGM). “I’m pretty confident there’s been some discussions between the Wizards and Suns. We’ve been talking about Jae Crowder now for about two months. It’s obvious it’s a hard trade to pull off. The Wizards have a bunch of guys who make decent salaries on their roster that they can use in trades.”
A number of Eastern Conference playoff contenders have already been linked to Crowder, with the Heat, Hawks, and Bucks among the teams said to have interest. There was a sense a couple weeks ago that Phoenix might be on the verge of completing a deal involving the 32-year-old, but nothing has come of those rumors to date.
The Suns are one of the NBA’s best teams and will be looking for win-now pieces – rather than draft picks or prospects – in any Crowder trade, which has made it challenging for them to make a straight-up trade with another contending club. They’ve reportedly explored multi-team scenarios in an effort to get the sort of player(s) they’re targeting.
According to Windhorst, Phoenix would like to acquire a power forward in a Crowder trade. A previous report indicated the Suns have interest in Kyle Kuzma, but the Wizards are presumably looking to supplement Kuzma in their frontcourt rather than give him up, given the year he’s having. Former lottery picks Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija could be trade candidates, as Windhorst observes.
“What Phoenix has been looking for in return for Jae Crowder is a power forward,” Windhorst said. “So you can look at the (Wizards’) roster and you can identify that maybe Hachimura would be a guy. But they haven’t made the deal yet, so there hasn’t been a connection there.
“… To be honest with you, if I was Phoenix – now again, this is me speaking, this is not what I’ve heard, to be clear – I’d be interested in Avdija. I am interested in what he can do defensively. But I haven’t heard that. I’ve just heard that those two sides have talked.”
Crowder ($10.18MM) and Hachimura ($6.26MM) are on expiring contracts, while Avdija ($4.92MM) has one more year left on his rookie deal after this one.