Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder has been away from his team since last season as the team looks to trade him, either to cut salary or to create opportunities for young forward Cameron Johnson.
But in a conversation with TNT’s Chris Haynes, Crowder said that the report that he requested a trade after Phoenix told him he might lose his starting job is false.
During the Warriors-Suns game Tuesday night, Haynes reported that while Phoenix and Crowder agreed that he’d stay away from the team while the Suns sought a trade, he disagreed with the reports as to why.
Crowder told Haynes, “Honestly, this is unfamiliar ground for me. This is my 11th year, and I’ve always been in camp and started the year off with my team. The business of basketball has taken its course, and changes have come. I do not want to get into details just yet, but it’s definitely not true of the narrative being pushed of me starting or not. I can honestly say that I had two great years with my teammates and the fans in Phoenix. I do not take that for granted. I’m forever grateful for the moments we’ve shared.”
Haynes wouldn’t say if he thought the player and team fell out because of Crowder’s desire for a contract extension — he is in the final year of a three-year, $29.1M deal. Phoenix is currently paying the luxury tax, but has been reluctant to do so since 2010, and has paid only $15.6M in total tax in their history. Analyst Reggie Miller wasn’t as circumspect as Haynes, sharing his opinion that “It’s all about money, money, money, and contracts!”
The Suns blew out the Warriors without Crowder, relying on Johnson and Torrey Craig at power forward. We may not see an end to the stalemate until Dec. 15, the first date players signed as free agents this summer can be traded.