Jae Crowder Could Return To Milwaukee As Bucks, Suns Work Out Potential Deal For The Veteran Forward

DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 12: Jae Crowder #99 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball against Luka Doncic … [+] #77 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter of Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at American Airlines Center on May 12, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. 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 Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

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Ever since Jae Crowder and the Phoenix Suns agreed to go their separate ways during training camp, rumors have swirled about the veteran forward eventually landing with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Those rumors only intensified this week when the Suns reportedly granted the Bucks permission to meet with Crowder and his agent to discuss a potential deal ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline.

From a basketball perspective, Crowder, 32, would be a perfect fit for the Bucks, especially on the defensive end, and his ability to shoot from the perimeter would go a long way in helping jumpstart an offense that currently sits 16th in 3-point shooting percentage.

A fit like that, though, won’t come cheap and the Bucks are limited by a number of factors, most notably their current salary cap and luxury tax situations and lack of draft capital that could help push a potential deal to the finish line.

Crowder is earning $9.2 million this season, the last under a three-year, $29 million deal he signed with Phoenix in 2020. To complete a deal, the Bucks would have to clear enough payroll space to take on the remainder of Crowder’s contract.

But the Suns will likely ask for more in terms of draft choices and the Bucks are prevented in that regard after dealing away its 2023, ’25 and ’27 first-round picks and an NBA rule that prevents teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years.

What general manager Jon Horst does have at his disposal is a plethora of second-round selections with six picks through the 2027 draft.

A likely scenario would involve a third team joining the negotiations though Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reported last week that just such a deal involving the Bucks, Suns and Washington Wizards fell apart when Rui Hachimura, who would have gone to Phoenix in the rumored proposal, ended up getting sent to the Lakers for Kendrick Nunn and a trio of second-round picks.

Other reports have suggested the Bucks offered shooting guard Grayson Allen to help land Crowder but such a deal wasn’t of interest to Phoenix while more recent reports have Milwaukee sending forward Serge Ibaka, forward Jordan Nwora and point guard George Hill along with a package of draft choices to get a deal done.

While he hasn’t played this season, Crowder appeared in 67 games (all starts) for Phoenix in 2021-22, averaging 9.4 points on 39.9% shooting including 34.8% on 3-point attempts to go along with 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals.

A trade to Bucks would set up a homecoming of sorts for Crowder, who played two seasons in Milwaukee at Marquette, where he earned BIG EAST Player of the Year honors in 2012 and became just the fifth player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points while playing only two seasons.

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