Windhorst: Teams Say 'It's Challenging' to Trade with Suns amid Jae Crowder Rumors

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 24: Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns reacts against the New Orleans Pelicans during Game Four of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at the Smoothie King Center on April 24, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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The Phoenix Suns apparently drive a hard bargain at the negotiating table.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported at the 28:17 mark of his Hoop Collective podcast Thursday that it's "challenging to do trade business with the Suns." One example is the ongoing Jae Crowder situation.

"On the Jae Crowder front, one the issues is that there isn't a straight-up trade the Suns have liked for him, so they've tried to do these three-team trades," Windhorst said. "...They may have to lower their standard."

Windhorst reported in September that Crowder was seeking an exit, in part because Phoenix was planning to elevate Cameron Johnson in the rotation at his expense. Crowder refuted the notion of a diminished role being the impetus for his trade request to Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes in October.

The longer Crowder languishes away from the team, the more the Suns' leverage seemingly lessens. Still, the front office has maintained a relatively high price tag for the 32-year-old forward.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported on Dec. 22 the team had turned down an offer from the Washington Wizards that was "believed to feature Rui Hachimura."

"Phoenix is said to be holding out for a certifiable starter in a Crowder deal," Stein wrote.

That's understandable to a degree because Crowder is theoretically a player who can help a contending team, and the Suns are looking to make a deep run in the postseason this year. Flipping him for an insignificant draft pick or a fringe role player doesn't help them that much in the short term.

Sooner or later, though, president of basketball operations James Jones might have to take the best offer that's available.