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Heat interested in Jae Crowder if buyout situation unfolds

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Heat interested in Suns Jae Crowder if buyout situation unfolds
USA Today Network

The Miami Heat are only interested in Phoenix Suns wing Jae Crowder if a buyout situation presents itself, according to multiple sources. Crowder agreed to sit out the 2022-23 season until the front office found a suitable trade partner.

Of course, Suns G.M. James Jones would have to work around Crowder’s large contract. Based on offseason expenditures, a buyout is ugly salary cap-wise. So, that scenario might never happen. In 2020, the Marquette product signed a three-year, $29 million deal with Phoenix.

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Crowder is making $10,183,800 million this season in the final year of his deal to ride the bench. If Phoenix fails to trade the 11-year veteran before the Feb. 9 deadline, Crowder will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Maybe he’ll sign with the Heat during the offseason.

In July, Devin Booker signed a four-year, $224.2 million contract extension with the Suns. He’s earning $33,833,400 this season. The guard’s salary consumes about 20% of the team’s total cap.

Then, Phoenix matched the Indiana Pacers’ four-year, $132.93 million contract offer for Deandre Ayton. To add to the list, Chris Paul is locked in until 2026. The 12-time All-Star is earning $28.4 million this season.

Heat only interested in Suns forward Jae Crowder if buyout situation presents itself this season

Furthermore, Crowder sitting out hurts his trade value. This will also likely impact his future performances. Ben Simmons missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a contract holdout, back injury, and mental health issues.

Now, with almost half the season already complete, Simmons is still not the same player. He’s averaging career lows of 7.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Will the Suns forward face similar problems when he returns? Teams like the Heat are asking these questions.

At least Crowder is healthy, all things considered. That’s one notable difference. Last season, in 67 starts with Phoenix, the wing averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 boards, 1.9 assists, and 1.4 steals. Plus, he shot 39.9% from the floor and 34.8% beyond the arc.

Additionally, the Heat could use another forward. Miami has Duncan Robinson, Caleb Martin, Nikola Jokic, Jimmy Butler, and a couple of other wings under coach Erik Spoelstra.

Though, Butler has made only 24 appearances this season. For what it’s worth, Crowder is a better rebounder than Robinson as well. Not to mention, Udonis Haslem is a 20-year veteran.

The three-time NBA champ has played just five contests through 38 games this season. Crowder is 10 years younger than Haslem. If Miami is aiming to win another title, trading for and signing younger players is a must. There are not that many exceptions. NBA executives understand that fact.

James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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