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The Impact of Losing Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder and the Phoenix Suns have mutually agreed that he will not participate in training camp as the sides attempt to work on a trade.

“After very fruitful and deliberate conversations, we just decided that it was best that he wasn’t with us for training camp,” said Suns GM James Jones.  “It allows us to focus on the guys that are here.”

The Suns have been rumored to be seeking a trade for Crowder throughout the entire summer but have yet to find a deal.  Crowder is heading into the final year of his deal.  

Crowder’s role with the team was lessening this year with the Suns poised to give Cameron Johnson more responsibility.  In a tweet, the 10-year veteran wrote, “ONE MUST SEEK WORK WHERE HE IS WANTED (…) WHERE HE IS NEEDED.!”

The 32-year-old has been an integral part of the Suns’ success over the last two seasons.  Phoenix made the Finals in 2021 and set a franchise record for regular-season wins last year.

“We ended the season not knowing this would be the outcome,”  head coach Monty Williams said. 

Dallas eliminated the Suns in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. The Phoenix Suns 2022 Media Day showcased the impact of Crowder’s veteran leadership and work ethic.

“Everyone has to do what’s best for them and I’m always gonna support any one of my teammates, especially somebody like Jae who is a huge reason why we were successful these past few years,” Chris Paul said.  

Devin Booker mentioned how unfortunate the situation was, adding that Crowder “shaped and shifted this culture.”  Many of Crowder’s former teammates agreed with Booker and Paul, reiterating how important it is to do what’s best for you.

Deandre Ayton followed Booker by stating, “Jae’s my guy.  I know he’s doing what’s best for him.”  Cameron Johnson shared similar thoughts, stating that “guys will do what’s best for them. To a certain extent guys should (…) You want what’s best for your boys.”

Johnson made it clear on the podium that there is no “bad blood” between him and Crowder.  

Mikal Bridges and Ish Wainright understood the importance of Crowder’s veteran leadership as their “vet.”

“It sucks,” Bridges said. “I love 99. I remember telling him all the time he’s one of my favorite vets ever. It’s the business and how things go.  I knew, especially from the (2021) Finals, when I look around, I know everybody, we’re not going to be here forever. Just how it is. Kind of sad. I miss my guy, though.”

Ish Wainright later commented on Crowder and said, “Jae was my vet so I wasn’t really expecting it. Man that’s big bro.  I’m still going to be Jae 2.0.”

Now, Jae Crowder is looking to continue his career elsewhere, but the relationships he built in Phoenix will never be forgotten.  

“That’s a friend and brother I’ll have forever,”  Booker said.   Shamet added, “I love Jae.  I love him to death.”

Crowder will be missed, but it appears that Johnson is ready to shoulder the load, and doing so will accelerate his growth at a time when the Suns can certainly use a youth injection.  

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