The Atlanta Hawks continue to be one of the most aggressive teams in the Eastern Conference.
The same organization that made a blockbuster trade for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray has reportedly emerged as a focal point in the Jae Crowder discussions. According to Stadium’s Shams Charania, the Suns and Hawks have had conversations about a possible deal in recent weeks.
Crowder has remained away from the team while the two sides work to find him a new home. Charania also mentioned that Atlanta has been one of several teams to be “engaged” on a trade for the veteran role player.
Of course, being a writer who spends the bulk of his time obsessing over the Chicago Bulls, I have to ask: Could the Bulls be one of those teams?
A tough 6-foot-9 forward who has shot 35.1 percent from long range over the past four seasons, there are few players on the market who feel like a better fit for what this roster needs. Crowder has amassed over 107 playoff games over his 10-year career, including trips to the Finals with both the Heat and Suns in recent years. He would immediately elevate the team’s physicality in the front court and slide into the team’s pace-and-space style of play.
Unfortunately, as much sense as the trade would make, the Bulls might not be in a position to pull it off. Crowder is owed $10.2 million before hitting free agency next summer. Theoretically, the Bulls could piece something together by using Coby White’s contract as the foundation, but is that a deal they are willing to make? Or one the Suns would be willing to accept?
White is coming off a career-high 38.5 percent performance from downtown and is still just 22 years old. Would swapping him for potentially one season of Crowder be worth it? I think a case could be made for it, especially if the Bulls have no plans of handing him a new contract when his restricted free agency hits this offseason. However, even then, would the franchise want to hold onto White a little longer and see what other trades may materialize as the season goes on? Remember: Executives expect a fruitful trade market this season.
If one thing is for sure, the Bulls should keep a close eye on Atlanta. Trae Young and Co. already look prime to give Chicago a much tougher time this season and many analysts already have projected them to finish ahead of the Bulls in the standings. While adding Crowder wouldn’t be nearly the needle-moving aquistion that adding Murray is, it would still give that high-upside roster another well-respected and starting-caliber player.