Should the Denver Nuggets trade for Jae Crowder?

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on 24 May 2022. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on 24 May 2022. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

Jae Crowder is one of the better role players in the NBA but following weeks of trade rumors, the veteran forward is officially on the trade block. Should the Denver Nuggets swoop in and make a move for him?

The news, reported by Shams Charania, The Athletic, comes just days after a hopeful end to the Rob Sarver debacle. Following the news that Sarver will be selling his stake in the Phoenix Suns (and WNBA franchise, the Phoenix Mercury), this Crowder report looks like a cost-cutting move.

The 32-year-old has been a major part of the Suns’ rotation since joining the team and while his current backup, Cam Johnson, looks primed to steal a starting spot this season, there should be no rush to downgrade on talent.

As Charania writes following the news:

"“Crowder’s last three NBA seasons have consisted of back-to-back runs to the NBA Finals (Miami 2020, Phoenix 2021) and league and franchise-best 64 wins for the Suns in 2021-22. Crowder has been a key part of the Suns rotation; team has gone 115-39 in his two seasons.”"

Regardless of the reason for trade and factoring in age-related decline, the journeyman would still be a value add for a contending team like the Denver Nuggets.

With one season remaining on his deal, worth approximately $10.2 million, it gets a little tricky for the Nuggets. The only move that would make sense for Denver is one that sends out equal salaries with Jeff Green and Ish Smith:

From Phoenix’s point of view, since this trade rumor seems purely financially based, they’re likely looking for a salary dump, not receiving any money.

If they’re looking to simply dump as much money as possible, then maybe a trade to one of the cap space teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, or Houston Rockets makes more sense.

However, if the move is emotionally motivated and James Jones sees Crowder as a possible bristle in the side of this Phoenix team’s chemistry issues, bringing back Jeff Green would be one of the better players he could net in a Crowder deal.

What would a Jae Crowder trade mean for the Denver Nuggets?

In my opinion, I think Jae Crowder is still an efficient NBA player whose switchability would help several versatile defensive teams. On the other side of the ball, Crowder’s offense has fallen off, averaging only 9.4 points per game while hitting 35 percent of his 3-pointers and 40 percent of his field goals this past season.

He’s not the 3-point sniper he was just two seasons ago where he hit 39 percent of his 6.3 long-range takes but he’s still respected from out there.

If he joins the Nuggets, he’d likely be the backup four behind Aaron Gordon but similar to him, Crowder would be tasked with guarding the better forward on defense. This would give Michael Porter Jr. another huge hand on that side of the ball since the newly-introduced Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and AG can take the stronger matchups from MPJ.

From the perspective of a bench lineup, Crowder’s shooting acumen alongside Zeke Nnaji‘s, who has the inside track for the backup five slot, gives the bench (namely, Bones Hyland) plenty of room to operate.

The fit seems nice on paper but if Calvin Booth is considering this trade (which hasn’t been reported), is there a better option out there in this same price range?

After completing the roster just after Summer League, the Nuggets have been very quiet and it looks like the front office is waiting until the deadline before making roster decisions. For now, we know that this kind of trade can be consummated, let’s just wait and see if it’s needed in the future.

Next. 5 things to watch out for in the Nuggets preseason. dark