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Jae Crowder still has yet to be traded, despite not appearing in a single game for the Suns this year. The reason why was recently revealed.
Early in the year, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested a trade moving Jae Crowder from the Suns to an unnamed team (in a three-team deal) was close to done.
Later that week, he reported that the Bucks were the team close to acquiring Crowder, but the deal never ended up going through.
It was a strange lapse of reporting from a usually otherwise accurate name in the trade market space, so it felt like something was up. New information about the teams involved in the three-team deal has given us some background and reasoning for why that situation went down (or didn’t go down) the way it did.
Rockets held up Jae Crowder-to-Bucks trade
Shams Charania published a column that previewed the trade market (subscription required), which unofficially opens on December 15th.
The 15th is the date that players who signed a contract this offseason are eligible to be traded.
In it, he confirmed that the Crowder-to-Milwaukee trade was the three-team trade Fischer had previously reported. He also got into specifics on the hang-up, suggesting that the Rockets were the team blocking the deal from going down.
First, here’s what Shams reported was the trade:
Kenyon Martin Jr
4 Bucks second-round picks
Charania reported that the Rockets wanted a first-round pick for Eric Gordon or a very good first-rounder for Martin. They were uninterested in the bevy of second-round picks that were offered initially.
The Rockets role in this deal is unique, as they’re essentially a broker to get the real deal done between the Suns and Bucks. The Suns, a competitive team, are uninterested in the assets the Bucks can offer since they are delayed-value pieces. Draft picks serve a rebuilding team, not the Suns.
So, the Rockets essentially serve as the middleman but were clearly unhappy with the fee offered. Milwaukee, while they clearly want Crowder, doesn’t appear willing to surrender a first-round pick to make it happen.
It’s a small situation that displays the reason it’s going to be tough for the Suns to find a reasonable trade destination for Crowder. Since the teams that want Crowder are competitive teams, those teams want to add him to their core, not swap a win-now piece in return. So, Phoenix will need to find a rebuilding time willing to take on the draft picks.
Those rebuilding teams don’t want to be bossed around, though, and can simply exit the negotiations if the price isn’t worth their involvement.
The Rockets may be an afterthought as a broker for the deal, but they want the pieces they get back to be legitimately valuable for them in the long run.