Jae Crowder has no regrets about his holdout in Phoenix or the months of missed games as he waited for a trade to be completed, telling Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, “I’d do it all over again.”
The Bucks had been considered among the favorites to land Crowder, but they weren’t able to work out a deal directly with the Suns. After Phoenix agreed to ship Crowder to Brooklyn in the Kevin Durant trade, Milwaukee offered draft assets to the Nets and everything was folded into a four-team deal.
The Bucks were thrilled to finally obtain Crowder, and they see him filling the defensive specialist role that P.J. Tucker did during their championship run in 2021. He has fit in seamlessly so far, averaging 19.3 minutes off the bench as Milwaukee has gone 4-0 since he has arrived.
“I think this team has what it takes to win a championship,” Crowder said. “That’s my main goal right now. I think once you win a championship, the rest of that stuff will take care of itself. My main goal, honestly, is not thinking about free agency or the summer. It’s all about winning the championship. I think that’s our locker room goal, and when I came into it, I knew that was the goal of the team.”
Crowder’s relationship with the Suns was reportedly damaged beyond repair when head coach Monty Williams informed him last offseason that he would no longer be a starter. Crowder refused to report to training camp, opting for individual workouts twice each day while he waited for a trade to materialize.
Sources tell Scotto that even when Cameron Johnson tore his meniscus in November, Crowder never considered returning to the Suns and the team didn’t discuss asking him to come back.
“Nah, there wasn’t a chance I was going to play there,” Crowder said. “Both sides knew that the road had come to an end. That came to an end way before Cam got hurt. I wasn’t going back on it, and they weren’t going back on it.”
Phoenix received offers for Crowder from several teams, Scotto adds. The Hawks, Rockets and Suns had exploratory discussions that would have sent Crowder to Atlanta along with Landry Shamet, while Eric Gordon and Kenyon Martin Jr. would have gone to Phoenix and John Collins would have wound up in Houston, but Scotto’s sources say that deal was never close to being completed.
Scotto adds that the Hawks also attempted to acquire Crowder and Shamet in a three-way trade that would have included the Jazz, but a disagreement over the draft picks Utah would have received prevented the teams from making progress. Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley would have gone to the Suns in that version of the deal.