With shooting guard Eric Gordon being linked to Phoenix, the Suns have reportedly “called rivals to measure” forward Jae Crowder’s value on the trade market, per Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.
Fischer added Wednesday that Phoenix is also searching for a second-round draft pick.
The report comes after ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst on Tuesday said that he’s heard the Suns have interest in adding Gordon for a potential reunion with former Houston Rockets teammate and current Suns point guard Chris Paul.
It’s not the first time Phoenix has seemingly kicked the tires on a potential Gordan trade, either, with Fischer saying the Suns had discussions with the Rockets over the guard at February’s trade deadline.
And given Crowder’s expiring contract next season, the starting forward is a prime trade candidate for prospective teams. Per Spotrac, Crowder carries a 2022-23 cap hit of $10,183,800 and will be an unrestricted free agent heading into 2023-24.
In 67 games played last season, Crowder averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals over 28.1 minutes per contest.
On top of the Suns evaluating teams’ interest in Crowder, Fischer also reported that Phoenix has sent messages to rivals and other league personnel that the Suns “won’t necessarily balk at matching any offer sheet for (Deandre) Ayton.”
The Bleacher Report writer added that Phoenix’s messaging centered around the big man came before the Detroit Pistons reportedly dealt forward Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday. Grant was considered a potential sign-and-trade piece to get Ayton to Detroit.
Fischer reported last Thursday that Ayton’s “most realistic landing spots” outside of the Suns were the Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors. He’s since added the Trail Blazers — although it’s expected they retain center Jusuf Nurkic — as well as the San Antonio Spurs to the mix.
As for how the Pistons navigate talks without a sign-and-trade candidate like Grant, that remains to be seen.
With no obvious sign-and-trade piece to send back to the Suns, it’s unclear whether Detroit will have an unencumbered pursuit of Ayton on the restricted free-agent market.