Bulls Have Reportedly Called About Jae Crowder

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Bulls Have Reportedly Discussed a Trade for Jae Crowder Involving Coby White

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls might be in on one of the NBA’s hottest trade targets.

According to Matt Moore of the Action Network, the Bulls have called the Phoenix Suns about forward Jae Crowder in recent weeks. Talks have mainly focused on an exchange for Coby White, but Moore caveats that “no real traction is thought to be present.”

When Crowder first became available earlier this season, this was the exact framework of a deal we mentioned here at Bleacher Nation. Not only did it make sense in terms of contracts, but the Suns have also been in clear need of more ballhandlers. Having said that, we also talked about how a trade felt unlikely due to the Suns’ presumably wanting more in return. And I have to imagine that’s exactly why Moore currently reports that the two sides have yet to build much momentum.

Still, the Bulls’ apparent interest is notable, as it reiterates an intention to keep building out a competitive product around the team’s current core (i.e. not only not selling/blowing it up, but actually adding). You don’t go after Crowder unless your plan is to make a push for the postseason. And, to be fair, Crowder could help Chicago do that.

The veteran has been to the postseason for the past nine seasons and has 107 career playoff games under his belt. He’s become one of the league’s better 3-and-D role players, averaging 10 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game on 36.0 percent shooting from downtown over the past three seasons. But for as much as he’d fill a void for the Bulls, you wonder if he’s really enough to push this squad in the right direction.

And that’s not all.

Crowder is talented, but he’s also the perfect plug-and-play guy for a contending team. And I have to imagine that’s where he wants to be. So you have to ask: Would he happily accept a role on the Bulls in a season that could already be lost? Let’s also remember that Crowder has held out on the Suns all season long. The vet has been wanting a contract extension, which Phoenix has refused to discuss in earnest. Would the Bulls be prepared to pay him? Should they be? That feels like investing further in this core, and we’ve already expressed extreme skepticism about that path.

Indeed, the last thing I’d want the Bulls to do is to throw in draft capital or something to make that deal work. While parting with White would be palatable since he’s headed toward restricted free agency this summer, including the Portland first-rounder feels like too much at this point in the season (I’d think a lot differently if the Bulls were, say, 5th in the East right now or something).

Now, Moore also mentioned that the Bulls have talked with Portland, who is considered a possible Crowder landing spot as well. What this has been about is unclear, but perhaps it could be for some kind of three-team deal with Phoenix? We’ve seen the Bulls pull that off with the Blazers in the past when trading Markkanen to the Cavs and receiving Derrick Jones Jr. and that first-round pick.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I do think the Blazers could make a lot of sense as a Bulls trade partner. Remove the Suns from the equation, and I can see a world where they may express some interest in someone like Nikola Vucevic or even DeMar DeRozan as they try to keep winning with Damian Lillard. The organization has a couple of young players to package in a deal, as well as an intriguing wing in Josh Hart. Maybe they could remove the protection on that pick, too?

At the end of the day, I can’t imagine we hear much more about the Bulls and Crowder, but I would file this Portland thing away in the back of your brain. That feels like it could hold a little more weight. We’ll see.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.