I know what you’re thinking. “Great, yet another article covering a potential Spurs trade where the good guys receive nothing but draft equity in return.” And that’s a fair statement, as seemingly every piece of content about the San Antonio Spurs that has come out recently has been about building for the future.
But as Spurs fans, this is our reality. Since the Dejounte Murray trade, you’ve heard this sentence time and time again: San Antonio will be looking to move its veterans, receiving draft picks and taking back bad contracts in return. With this piece, let me introduce the potential to trade away a bad contract while still receiving a decent return.
The drama surrounding the Suns' Jae Crowder
If you don’t follow the musings of NBA Twitter as closely as I do (your mental health is a lot better for it), you may not be aware of the fact that Phoenix Suns veteran forward Jae Crowder is in the midst of a standoff with the organization. With a desire to give younger forward Cameron Johnson more minutes, the Suns have reportedly shopped Crowder in trades.
BOSSMAN99 (Crowder) posted a couple of thoughts across his social media in reaction to the news. In a now deleted tweet, Jae replied to a Suns reporter questioning his role in training camp by saying “99 won’t be there!” Further, with an Instagram reel that is still up, Jae seems to have created a hype video for his potential trade (Warning: explicit language).
The dynamics of a deal
How does a potential trade involve the Spurs? San Antonio is not in the business of “buying” veterans, just as the Suns aren’t interested in draft picks— Phoenix wants something that will help them win now. Crowder, somewhat of a journeyman (he appears set to join his 7th team), holds a ton of value as a player who’s made the playoffs with every team he’s finished the season on (he's been involved in midseason trades thrice). He has also started in two of the previous three NBA Finals.
Thus, he will attract a lot of suitors. You could make a case that every projected playoff team could use his services. But the Spurs have something that those contenders do not have: a player that Phoenix may value in return. Contenders tend to hold onto players that are helping them win, but that is exactly what the Suns will want back in return for a key cog of their playoff rotation.
So what would the trade look like?