Jae Crowder

Central Notes: LeVert, Crowder, Turner, Dosunmu

Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland says fellow guard Caris LeVert was never fully healthy after Cleveland acquired him in a deal with Indiana last season, but he’s turning some heads in training camp, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays (via Twitter).

Caris is on a tear right now. He’s scoring the ball really well, he’s playing both sides of the ball, he’s defending really hard. We just have that attack mentality right now. He’s looking really good,” Garland said.

LeVert has plenty of financial incentive to have a big season in 2022/23. The 28-year-old is extension-eligible as he enters the final season of his $18.8MM contract. He averaged 13.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 3.9 APG on .435/.313/.745 shooting in 19 games (10 starts, 29.8 MPG) with the Cavs in ’21/22.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • In an article about Cleveland’s roster battle to determine the starting small forward, Joe Vardon of The Athletic suggests the Cavs might have interest in Suns forward Jae Crowder, who is sitting out training camp as Phoenix looks to find a deal for the veteran. Crowder’s first stint in Cleveland (back in ’17/18) did not go well, but the circumstances were rough — his mother had just passed away and his former team (Boston) had just lost to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference finals the prior season.
  • Myles Turner‘s days with the Pacers are numbered and they would be wise to move him sooner rather than later, argues Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. Turner has been a consummate professional during his time in Indiana and he deserves credit for the way he’s handled trade rumors over the years, but he’s on an expiring contract, the team is rebuilding, and having him on the roster would prevent younger players from receiving more playing time, Kravitz writes.
  • Fatigue played a factor in slowing down Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu in the second half of last season, so he was focused on improving his stamina entering year two, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I want to be able to go up and down four or five times without getting tired. (Wednesday), I think I did a good job with that. I was picking up fullcourt and I really didn’t get tired,” Dosunmu said, referencing practice scrimmages. “With us playing faster and getting out in transition and playing a more open, free game, I would say me not getting tired would be a huge plus for me and the team because I can use my speed, make plays, get downhill and do what I do.”

Central Notes: Crowder, Drummond, Sirvydis, Bitadze, Cavs, Garland

The Bucks are a potential suitor for Jae Crowder, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his podcast (hat tip to RealGM). Milwaukee is interested in forwards in the Crowder mold that can guard multiple positions. They had an interest in a former Pistons forward, according to Lowe.

“The Bucks were sneakily kind of sniffing around Jerami Grant in Detroit before Portland swooped in,” he said. “I think they like the idea of the switchable, switchable, switchable guys.”

Crowder won’t participate in the Suns training camp as they look to move him.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls center Andre Drummond will back up Nikola Vucevic, but Drummond still views himself as a starter, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. The former All-Star signed a two-year, $6.6MM contract with Chicago early in free agency.
  • A trio of Pacers big men are nursing ankle injuries, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Deividas Sirvydis will miss some time after injuring his ankle in a pick-up game last week. Center Goga Bitadze is close, but not 100%, due his gimpy ankle, while Jalen Smith is close to full strength. Sirvydis’ ailment could cost him a shot at a roster spot — he signed a non-guaranteed, one-year contract that included Exhibit 10 language.
  • With the addition of Donovan Mitchell, the Cavaliers realize that they’re not going to surprise anyone this season, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. “I think people know what we’re capable of now,” forward Kevin Love said. “If we put it together, we aren’t a team that’s really going to surprise anybody anymore. We’ve got some young stars that I think are going to make a lot of noise this year.”
  • Fresh off signing a five-year extension, Darius Garland is looked upon as the leader of the Cavaliers, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic writes. “He’s a guy that people want to follow, they want to see him be successful, so it’s his opportunity and his responsibility to lead those guys in that way,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

Pacific Notes: Crowder, Ayton, McNair, Murray, Wall

Suns forward Jae Crowder was informed over the summer that he might lose his starting job in 2022/23, which prompted him to ask for a trade, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Crowder has been a key member of a Suns team that made the NBA Finals in 2021 and won 64 regular season games last season, but Phoenix appears prepared to grant his trade request, having agreed to have him remain away from the team for training camp.

“Jae brought a number of intangibles to the team, I think all of our guys would speak in that way about him,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said on Monday, per Windhorst. “At the same time, these things happen and you have to transition and move forward. I totally am behind (GM) James (Jones) and how we are handling this.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • According to Windhorst, there seems to be some scarring following the Suns‘ offseason standoff with Deandre Ayton, which ended when the team matched the four-year, maximum-salary offer sheet he signed with Indiana. Windhorst writes that there was a “complete lack of enthusiasm emanating” from the “usually jovial” Ayton during Monday’s Media Day when he discussed his experience in free agency.
  • Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kings general manager Monte McNair expressed confidence in the team’s new-look roster and brushed off questions about his contract situation as he enters the final season of a three-year deal. “Is my deal, like, on the internet or something?” McNair joked, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “Look, for me and my group, we’re excited about what we’ve done. We’re excited that coach (Mike) Brown is in here. I’m the GM right now and I’ve got a bunch of work to do, so I’m going to do that until they kick me out, and I hope I’m here for a long time.”
  • Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee takes a look at how No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray is dealing with high expectations as he joins a Kings team attempting to snap a 16-year playoff drought.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is looking forward to taking advantage of the element of speed that newly added point guard John Wall will bring to the team this season, writes Helene Elliott of The Los Angeles Times. “I think with John, adding John, his pace is tremendous. That’s going to allow us to get easy baskets,” Lue said. “Guys get open threes, easy shots, him getting downhill, getting to the basket changes our team dramatically. His pace, the way he plays, brings a different dimension to our team.”

Suns Notes: Ayton, Sarver, Williams, Jones, Booker, Crowder

Suns center Deandre Ayton said that owner Robert Sarver’s suspension and $10MM fine was much deserved, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes.

“At the end of the day, the actions are unacceptable,” Ayton said. “My thoughts go out to all the people that were affected by his actions.”

Coach Monty Williams and GM James Jones said they were blindsided when the investigation revealed the depth of Sarver’s actions within the organization, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

“I was in disbelief,” Williams said. “When you see the bullet points and then when you go through it, um, you start to think about how these things impact the people.”

“I would say just a state of shock,” Jones added. “You don’t want that around the organization. You don’t want that to be the issue.”

We have more on the Suns:

  • Devin Booker is happy that the Suns matched the Pacers’ offer sheet for Ayton, he told Rankin. “I’m excited for him,” Booker said. “That’s a weight lifted off his shoulders. You understand that this isn’t just basketball. It comes down to business at some point. The only way you can learn and understand those situations is if you’re in them. I think he learned a lot.”
  • Jae Crowder will sit out camp as the team seeks a trade for the veteran forward. Jones said the situation is a “difficult” one, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets. “It’s a team thing for us,” he said. “This is a difficult situation to navigate.”
  • Where will Crowder wind up? Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tackles that subject and believes the Cavaliers, Sixers and Hornets top the list of potential suitors.
  • The fact that Sarver announced the franchise is up for sale doesn’t mean that the issues uncovered during the investigation and the backlash the league experienced after revealing its punishment have been erased, Windhorst opines.

Grizzlies Notes: Crowder, Jackson Jr., PF, Clarke, Brooks, Adams, Green

Grizzlies star Ja Morant would like to reunite with former teammate Jae Crowder, who is sitting out training camp as the Suns seek a trade partner for the veteran forward. In reply to Crowder’s tweet about seeking work “where he is wanted..where he is needed,” Morant sent out a “back soon” emoji (Twitter link). In a separate tweet, Morant noted that Crowder hit a game-winning three in overtime to help him get his first NBA win.

Crowder didn’t shoot well in 45 games with Memphis in 2019/20, Morant’s rookie season, but he caught fire with Miami after being dealt away. Crowder has spent the past two seasons with Phoenix after signing a three-year, $29MM deal as a free agent in 2020. He’s making $10.2MM in ’22/23, the final season of his contract.

Here’s more from Memphis:

  • Starting power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. underwent surgery to repair a right foot stress fracture at the end of June, with the team saying he’d miss four-to-six months at that time. At Monday’s Media Day, executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager Zach Kleiman said that timeline remains accurate. However, Jackson said that while he’s unlikely to suit up for opening night, he believes he’s ahead of the team’s schedule (Twitter links via Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian). Jackson hopes to win Defensive Player of the Year in ’22/23 after coming fifth last season, tweets Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I want it badly,” Jackson said.
  • With Jackson injured, second-year big man Santi Aldama was the first name to pop up as a possible replacement in the starting lineup from both Kleiman and head coach Taylor Jenkins, but Jenkins said that there are a number of other candidates for the role, including Brandon Clarke, Ziaire Williams, Dillon Brooks, Xavier Tillman, David Roddy and Jake LaRavia, so it sounds like there might be a training camp battle for the job, or even fluctuate depending on matchups (Twitter links from Cole).
  • Speaking about the contract statuses of Clarke, Brooks and Steven Adams, all of whom are extension-eligible, Kleiman didn’t want to go into specifics of negotiations, but he said the Grizzlies like all three players. “We view them as potential long-term pieces of our group,” Kleiman said, per Cole (via Twitter). Clarke would be a restricted free agent in 2023 if he doesn’t receive an extension, while Brooks and Adams would both be unrestricted. In case you missed, we broke down what an extension for Clarke might look like earlier today.
  • Despite being injured with a torn ACL, it doesn’t sound like veteran wing Danny Green is in danger of being waived anytime soon. “Danny Green is part of this group,” Kleiman said, adding that Memphis expects Green to return in ’22/23. However, his status as a free agent next summer is “to be determined.” (Twitter link via Cole). Green has a nearly $7MM partial guarantee on his $10MM contract this season, so he could be used as a trade chip for salary-matching purposes, but it also makes it expensive to waive him. If the Grizzlies retain Green, Killian Tillie is probably the odd man out, as the team is facing a roster crunch. Tillie will earn a guaranteed $1.9MM this season.

Jae Crowder To Sit Out Camp As Suns Seek Trade

4:47pm: The Suns have confirmed in a press release that Crowder will sit out training camp. Crowder also responded with a brief message on Twitter.

“One must seek work where he is wanted… where he is needed!” Crowder wrote. “I am thankful for what these past two years have taught me. Now, I must take on another challenge with continued hard work and dedication. For those of you who closed the door on me… Thank you! 99 back soon!”

4:00pm: Jae Crowder and the Suns are hoping to find a trade for the veteran forward, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The 6’6″ forward will sit out Phoenix’s training camp as he and the Suns explore potential deals, Charania adds.

Fresh off a 2020 NBA Finals run as the Heat’s 3-and-D starting power forward, Crowder inked a three-year, $29.2MM deal with the Suns ahead of the 2020/21 season.

With Phoenix, Crowder made his second straight NBA Finals appearance in 2021 as the team’s starting power forward. Last year, he started all of his 67 healthy games with the club, which finished with a league-leading 64-18 record. For the 2021/22 season, Crowder averaged 9.4 PPG on .399/.348/.789 shooting splits, plus 5.3 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 1.4 SPG.

A deal involving Crowder had been rumored in recent weeks. Earlier this weekend, the 32-year-old tweeted an ominous post declaring that he would be absent from training camp before ultimately deleting the message.

Sharpshooting 6’8″ reserve power forward Cameron Johnson, the No. 11 pick out of North Carolina in 2019, emerged last year as a reliable scoring threat for Phoenix off the bench. The team could be looking to shore up its depth elsewhere in a potential Crowder deal, while elevating the 26-year-old Johnson to a starting role that seemed inevitable sooner rather than later.

Pacific Notes: Crowder, Wall, Lakers, Kings

Suns forward Jae Crowder tweeted and deleted “99 won’t be there!” in reply to a Duane Rankin article about training camp questions, notes Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link). The Suns are rumored to be exploring the trade market for the veteran, with Crowder said to be interested in a return to the Heat, though that would be tricky, at least for now, due to salary-matching rules.

In 67 games (28.1 MPG) with the Suns last season, all starts, the 32-year-old averaged 9.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.9 APG and 1.4 SPG on .399/.348/.789 shooting. While his long-range shooting is inconsistent, Crowder remains a solid defender and smart passer on a reasonable $10.2MM expiring deal.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Clippers guard John Wall recently opened up about his personal struggles the past few years in an article for The Players Tribune. Wall contemplated suicide after a series of traumatic events, including tearing his Achilles tendon, an infection from the subsequent surgeries that nearly caused his foot to be amputated, and losing his mother to breast cancer. Wall details how close he was to his mother, whom he calls his “best friend in the whole world.”
  • Every member of the Lakers‘ roster except for Dennis Schröder attended a players-led minicamp in San Diego on Friday, sources tell ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter links). Schröder was unable to attend due to logistical reasons — he’s still organizing a move back to L.A., per McMenamin. The veteran point guard has been quite busy recently. He signed a one-year deal to return to the Lakers last week and finished competing for Germany at EuroBasket last weekend.
  • James Ham of The Kings Beat breaks down the Kings‘ depth at center entering training camp. Domantas Sabonis and Richaun Holmes figure to see the majority of the minutes at the five, and new head coach Mike Brown might experiment with playing them together at times, Ham writes.

Heat Notes: Crowder, Days, Offseason, Haslem

Veteran forward Jae Crowder would welcome a return to the Heat, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. However, even though the Suns are said to be exploring Crowder’s trade market, a deal that sends him from Phoenix to Miami will be tricky to work out.

As Jackson writes, the Suns probably have zero interest in taking on Duncan Robinson‘s pricey long-term contract, and any other players the Heat could realistically use as salary-matching pieces in a Crowder trade aren’t eligible to be dealt until December or January. On top of that, Jackson would be surprised if Miami is willing to give up a future first-round pick to acquire Crowder, a 32-year-old on an expiring contract.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • The Spurs were surprised when Darius Days signed a two-way contract with the Heat, according to Jackson, who says San Antonio had hoped to bring Days to training camp and have him compete for a two-way spot. One other team besides the Spurs offered Days a two-way deal, but the undrafted rookie out of LSU chose the Heat in part due to their track record of developing young talent, Jackson explains.
  • In another story for The Miami Herald, Jackson revisits the Heat’s offseason moves – including their decision not to go into the tax or to impose a hard cap on themselves – and wonders if it might’ve made sense for the team to offer its bi-annual exception to T.J. Warren to address its hole at power forward. Warren ended up signing a minimum-salary contract with Brooklyn.
  • Longtime Heat big man Udonis Haslem believes he’s “very qualified” to be part of the franchise’s ownership group and has already started talking to team executives about eventually getting a stake in the Heat, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “It will continue to rev up,” Haslem said of those discussions. “I’m going to continue to have them. I’m very ambitious and I’ve been creating a lot of the communication. But they’ve been receptive.” Haslem added that he wants to “learn everything from ticket sales to marketing” and be the sort of owner who brings value to the club.
  • In a separate article for The Herald, Chiang examines five preseason questions facing the Heat, including whether Tyler Herro will sign a rookie scale extension by the October 17 deadline and whether Kyle Lowry can set himself up for a strong second season in Miami.

Suns Rumors: Crowder, Payroll, Bogdanovic, Johnson

As team owner Robert Sarver begins serving his year-long ban from the NBA, the Suns‘ front office continues to explore ways to upgrade the team’s roster before the regular season gets underway. Appearing on ESPN’s NBA Today (video link), Brian Windhorst confirmed that the Suns are active in trade discussions, with many of those talks involving forward Jae Crowder.

“(They’ve been) very active within this last week. They are conducting business, they’re in trade negotiations right now. A lot of them are centered around Jae Crowder,” Windhorst said. “Jae Crowder is a player who is available on the market right now. Whether or not there’s going to be a deal for him that materializes between now and next week’s trade deadline, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Obviously, this season’s trade deadline won’t arrive until February, but Windhorst may be suggesting that the Suns will see if they can get something done before training camps begin.

Crowder, whose name has been mentioned in trade rumors off and on throughout the offseason, is in the final year of his current contract. The 32-year-old will earn approximately $10.2MM in 2022/23 before becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Sources who have spoken recently to Windhorst don’t get the sense that the Suns are unwilling to increase their payroll by taking back more salary than they send out in a trade. General manager James Jones and his front office won’t be bringing deals directly to Sarver to approve this season, but interim governor Sam Garvin presumably has a sense of how much the Suns owner is prepared to spend on the roster. Team salary is already well above the luxury tax line.
  • While Windhorst doesn’t explicitly confirm any specific trade targets for the Suns, he says he wouldn’t be surprised if the team makes a play for Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic. Phoenix’s interest in Bogdanovic has been previously reported, though a handful of teams are believed to be eyeing the veteran, who is on an expiring deal.
  • Windhorst also confirms that the Suns are engaged in rookie scale extension talks with sharpshooter Cameron Johnson. The two sides have until October 17 to reach a deal. If Johnson hasn’t signed an extension by that point, he’ll be on track for restricted free agency in 2023.

Pacific Notes: Sarver, Ayton, Crowder, Kings, Reaves

In the wake of the NBA’s announcement that Suns owner Robert Sarver would be suspended for one year and fined $10MM following an investigation into his workplace conduct, the team issued a series of statements this afternoon, including one attributed to Sarver, as Melissa Rohlin of FOX Sports relays (via Twitter).

“While I disagree with some of the particulars of the NBA’s report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees,” Sarver said. “I take full responsibility for what I have done. I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values.

“I accept the consequences of the NBA’s decision. This moment is an opportunity for me to demonstrate a capacity to learn and grow as we continue to build a working culture where every employee feels comfortable and valued.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Within the second part of his Q&A with Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (subscription required), Suns general manager James Jones said that the team is on the same page as center Deandre Ayton (“the contract stuff is behind us”) and forward Jae Crowder. Crowder posted a cryptic tweet earlier in the offseason in which he stated it was “time for a change,” but Jones dismissed that as “noise” and said the Suns and Crowder are “good.”
  • It has been over a month since Quinn Cook agreed to sign with the Kings and nearly two months since the team reached an agreement with KZ Okpala, and neither deal is official yet. According to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link), both Cook and Okpala are still expected to be in camp with the team, but roster situations are fluid at this time of year, Anderson notes, so it’s possible that could change.
  • Lakers guard Austin Reaves spoke to Shams Charania of Stadium (video link) about his path to the NBA, playing with LeBron James, and his willingness to play whatever role the team asks of him in 2022/23.