Jae Crowder knows where he wants to go.
There’s just no easy, clean way to get there. So Crowder continues to stay away from the Suns and work out on his own, waiting for a trade to happen.
Crowder wants to go to Miami or Atlanta, Jake Fischer reports at Yahoo Sports, but he detailed how neither destination is likely right now because the Suns want players that can help them win now, not just picks.
Heat officials have even expressed confidence Miami is Crowder’s preferred destination. By all accounts, Crowder didn’t want to leave Miami after he contributed to the Heat’s 2020 Eastern Conference championship, but Miami balked at the three-for-30 number Crowder was seeking then, just as he purportedly is now. So, why not wait to see if Crowder ultimately finds a buyout, in Phoenix or elsewhere, and flocks back to South Beach with open arms?
Along with Miami, inquiring teams have been told Atlanta is Crowder’s other preferred landing spot. While the Hawks have made calls about injured wing Bogdan Bogdanovic, a potential framework of Crowder and Landry Shamet for Bogdanovic has made the rounds among front office personnel, although one source with knowledge of the situation claimed Shamet is not part of any active Suns conversations with Atlanta. The Hawks and Suns have had dialogue on Crowder throughout the summer.
With the Suns not interested in a larger trade package based around Duncan Robinson, the Heat have reached the “let’s see what we’ve got” phase. They want to see how Caleb Martin plays at the four (there is a good chance he starts at that position) and how Oladipo settles in. The Heat will not be rushed.
Similarly, the Hawks are not about to make the straight-up swap that works financially — De'Andre Hunter for Crowder — because they don’t want to trade their 24-year-old likely starting three for a 32-year-old backup four (so long as John Collins is in Atlanta, Crowder would be a backup, which was part of the issue in Phoenix).
All of this (and the rest of Fischer’s reporting for Yahoo) suggest the Crowder standoff could drag out a while. The Suns are a win-now team trying to trade with other win-now teams — the only kind interested in Crowder — and those are difficult deals to put together. Get comfortable, Crowder may be home for a while yet.