The Phoenix Suns have been buying around veteran forward Jae Crowder since the offseason. With the 2022-2023 NBA season well underway at this point, Crowder remains a member of the organization, which he will not be playing for.
Many are expecting the Suns to find closure in the Crowder Sweepstakes soon as December 15 approaches. For now, however, there’s no significant traction on Crowder’s trade talks, aside from the fact that the Miami Heat have been consistently linked with the veteran.
However, one NBA writer thinks the Sixers could benefit from being the ones to end the crowder sweepstakes. Lately, Bleacher Reports Zach Buckley compiled a list of trade ideas for several putative competitors.
In one of the sham deals worked out, the Sixers captured Crowder by sending Matisse Thybulle, Georges Niang and Jaden Springer.
“The Sixers might be desperate enough that a two-way wing like Crowder will let go of rotational regulars like Matisse Thybulle and Georges Niang. The fact that Philly can also sweeten the pot with Jaden Springer, a 2021 first-rounder, may also help Phoenix feel better about the value aspect of this deal.
Starting with the Sixers, Crowder would fit like a tailored suit. He would fill the same complementary, defensive role as PJ Tucker, except Crowder is five years younger and less reluctant to go on offense. Four points from Philly’s final playoff lineup are obvious, but Crowder could jump into the discussion for that last one.
Crowder doesn’t come cheap in this bogus deal, so Buckley cites desperation as a reason the Sixers might look into it.
The standout name in the deal is Matisse Thybulle as he has established himself as one of the league’s most dominant full-backs. Though Thybulle isn’t the nearly untouchable player he once was as his offense remains a question mark, he can still be a valuable situational player when he’s fully healthy.
And while it’s unclear what the future holds for Jaden Springer, the Sixers don’t seem too motivated to move away from the former first-round pick, intrigued by his defensive development and potential offensive ceiling.
As for Niang, he would be the player to be replaced by Crowder in the deal. Defensively, there’s no denying the Suns veteran has more value that end, but it’s worth pointing out that Crowder has declined on offense over the past few seasons.
During the 2019-2020 season, Crowder turned hot from three in 20 games with the Miami Heat, posting a career-high 45 percent from three. From there, the three-point percentage dropped to 39 percent in 60 games two years ago, then slipped to 35 percent in 67 games last year. It’s hard to rely on the idea that Crowder’s three-point shooting numbers wouldn’t keep going down when there’s no evidence currently to prove otherwise.
Meanwhile, Niang is the Sixers’ most reliable three-point shooter right now, having fired 43 percent of his shots from beyond the arc in 23 games. It’s never easy to justify replacing a player who leads the team in this type of category.
Valid arguments can be made for reasons to make or reject this type of deal from the Sixers’ side. But unless the Sixers are keen to make a sudden change, it’s unlikely they’ll be the ones to pull Crowder out of Phoenix this year.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him on Twitter for live updates: @JGrasso_.