The Toronto Raptors may have finalized their training camp roster after signing Josh Jackson for all we know, but it is very unlike Masai Ujiri to turn down the opportunity to add a versatile wing with shooting skill. The performance of Jae Crowder during the last half-decade could prompt Ujiri to get the Phoenix Suns on the phone.
Having bounced around with teams like the Jazz, Heat, and Suns over the last few years, Crowder’s hard-nosed style of play and expert marksmanship have helped many of his teams make it to the playoffs. Crowder was a key part of two consecutive runners-up in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
While the Suns have their big three in Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton, the trio’s financial implications could force Phoenix to part with some of their veterans. Crowder could be next on the chopping block if the latest rumors are to be believed.
According to Brian Windhorst, who has been spot-on in reporting rumors centered around Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, the Suns have been “very active” in pursuing a trade for Crowder. With media day coming in less than a week, Toronto needs to act fast to bring him up north.
Will the Toronto Raptors get Jae Crowder?
Crowder, who averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game last year, has been a good luck charm of sports during his time in the NBA. Crowder has played in 10 seasons, and he has made the postseason in nine of them. On a team like Toronto that values players with his build, the Marquette alum could make it 10 in 11 tries.
Crowder’s offensive value lies almost entirely in his ability to shoot from 3-point range. While he was a bit down last year, there’s reason to believe he’ll bounce back from that poor showing. On defense, the muscular Crowder seems like an ideal fit for a Toronto scheme that asks a lot from wing players with the size to bang in the post.
Like most trades at this point in time, the Raptors may only have a chance at him if they can either convince Phoenix to take on Khem Birch’s contract or get a third team involved. This won’t be easy, but there are certainly things you can do to make this happen, especially for a player who would be such a seamless bench fit.
Crowder has shown time and time again that he can play a vital role on teams with championship aspirations. Phoenix’s timing for giving up on him is quite odd, but the Raptors may still choose to act fast and beat some of their Eastern Conference rivals to the punch.