After a fallout with the Phoenix Suns, veteran forward Jae Crowder demanded out of the desert this off-season. However, he is still on the Suns’ payroll over 20 games into the year. Crowder has been to the playoffs in nine of his 10 years in the NBA, and he was sure to spike the attention of all contending teams.
The Wolves have lacked heart and passion to start the season. However, that was a potential consequence of trading Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley. While Crowder may be a gritty veteran defender, messing with a roster that is still trying to get on the same page with each other isn’t the right way to go about it.
The Wolves currently have an 11-11 record just over a month into the season; things have not been pretty. From lack of identity issues to an injury-riddled roster, the Wolves have a lot of work to do before they can be considered a top team in the West.
Recently, Karl-Anthony Towns went down with a strained right calf. He will be out “indefinitely” and “revalued in several weeks.” The Wolves are already without Taurean Prince and Jaden McDaniels at the time of Towns’ injury. At first glance, trading for Crowder would seem like a good fix to Minnesota’s depth and heart issues. However, when looking at how a trade would have to be constructed, that possible solution doesn’t look advantageous to Minnesota.
Crowder is on the final season of a three-year, $29 million contract. Becoming a free agent next season and making $10 million this year, the logistics behind making a move for Crowder don’t seem plausible.
Phoenix is reportedly seeking a power forward in return for Crowder. Although the Suns don’t want to deal Crowder to a rival Western Conference team, Harrison Barnes and Kyle Kuzma are two guys they are interested in.
Prince is the only player who fits what Phoenix is looking for.
With over $70 million tied up between Towns and Gobert, the Wolves don’t have much wiggle room for trades and signings. However, Tim Connelly could deal Prince, who’s on the first year of a $14.5 million deal, for Crowder straight up, and the money would work.
Despite the financial side working out, I doubt Suns’ President of Basketball Operations James Jones would pull the trigger on that deal, considering what else appears to be on the table. With that said, I also can’t see Connelly dealing Prince right now because he has looked solid this year.
A right shoulder injury has sidelined TP for the past week, and he’s expected to miss another week. The Wolves have a 1-3 record in the four games he’s missed this season. I’m not saying Minnesota would have gone 4-and-0 through that stretch. However, anyone watching this team during that stretch can see how much of an impact his absence has made on the team.
“I’ve been a leader for a very long time, but I’m also well aware,” said Prince during Media Day. “I have a great self-awareness, and I know when to impose and when to talk less. I was four years at Baylor, I was a leader there. Same for my third year in Atlanta, we had a lot of young guys there.”
Just like his whole career, Prince was a leader last year for the Wolves. However, his impact was overshadowed by Pat Bev. With Beverley gone, TP knew he needed to take over as the team’s primary vocalist, which he has done very well this season.
Things may not be going smoothly for the Wolves to open the year. However, Prince has been one of Minnesota’s most dependable players on both sides of the ball. Crowder may be a winner and one of the best role players in the NBA. However, dealing for him would be a mistake I don’t see the Wolves making.