Why Heat Should Attempt to Bring Back Jae Crowder Amid NBA Trade Rumors

Jake RillJune 29, 2022

Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Jae Crowder's time with the Miami Heat was brief, but he made a substantial impact. The forward played 20 regular-season games for the team late in the 2019-20 campaign, then helped the Heat reach the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble at the end of that season.

After that, Crowder signed with the Phoenix Suns, and he's been a big reason for their recent success. He's played 127 games and made 109 starts over the past two seasons, and he helped them get to the NBA Finals in 2021.

At this point, Crowder has only one year remaining on his contract with Phoenix. And early this summer, the 31-year-old forward's name is starting to pop up in some trade rumors— including one that links him to his former team.

According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Heat are coming up with contingency plans in case they're unsuccessful in re-signing forward P.J. Tucker this offseason. One of those potential options? Trying to reacquire Crowder.

"Should the Heat lose out on Tucker, the team, according to an NBA source, is considering either a trade for former Heat power forward Jae Crowder, who is entering the final year of a contract that pays $10.2 million next season with the Phoenix Suns, or a possible free-agent move for Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren," Winderman wrote.

Would the Suns be willing to part with Crowder? That remains to be seen. But if they are, it could be a great move for the Heat to make. It may even be a better idea than trying to bring back Tucker.

Crowder fit in well with the Heat during his previous stint with the team. He averaged 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in 20 regular-season games, then averaged 12 points and 5.6 rebounds in 21 playoff games (all of which he started).

Over the past two seasons, Crowder has averaged 9.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from three-point range. So, would Phoenix be willing to trade him?

Deandre Ayton is a restricted free agent, and the Suns will likely have to give him a big deal if they hope to bring him back. Crowder, meanwhile, is set to make $10.18 million during the 2022-23 season.

Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported earlier this month that Phoenix had "called rivals to measure Jae Crowder’s value on the trade market." So, it seems to at least be something the Suns would consider.

Whether it's the best possible choice for Miami would depend on what it would have to give up. But replacing Tucker with Crowder is something that should keep the Heat's lineup among the best in the league and perhaps even give them an upgrade in certain areas.

It's something Miami needs to consider. And if Tucker doesn't re-sign—which is quite possible, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tucker has plans to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers—then the Heat should be more aggressive in their potential pursuit of Crowder.


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