The Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly eyeing Jae Crowder while looking at some other probable candidates to fill the role of one of their significant players from their 2021 championship exploits.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Bucks are having an “internal interest” on the disgruntled cager, further noting that the club is looking at other options for a potential “P.J. Tucker replacement.”
“I know they have some internal interest in Jae Crowder,” Lowe said in his appearance on NBA Today (1:22 mark) this Tuesday. “Nothing has really happened there, so they’re still looking around for kind of a P.J. Tucker replacement to beef up their lineup with Giannis (Antetokounmpo) at center.”
Tucker, who was acquired by Milwaukee via midseason trade of 2020-21 season from the Houston Rockets, became an integral component and fan favorite of the franchise’s eventual championship run. His vocal leadership, defensive reputation and perfect ability to slide at the power forward slate of their dynamic small ball lineup with Giannis Antetokounmpo at the five were crucial for the Bucks’ accomplishment of hoisting an NBA championship trophy for the first time since 1971.
But upon the unexpected departure of the hard-nosed veteran following that sweet title run, it became noticeable that the Bucks have yet to fill that void in their defensive wing mantle. As such, targeting Crowder is a reasonable decision to be considered.
The-32-year old Marquette product remains away from the Phoenix Suns’ current preseason and team activities until his trade request materializes to reality. As he averaged 9.7 points, 5.0 boards, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals in 55.7 true shooting percentage in his past two seasons of frequently starting for the Suns at the four, Crowder emerges as an ideal fit for what the Bucks are desiring to have.
But given the fact that the wingman is approaching the 2022-23 season as a contract year, wherein his aspirations to start in order to raise his market value has heavily influenced his decision to put a divorce with the Suns, it’ll be a dilemma for the Bucks if they are seeking to be partnered with Crowder on a long-term frame. Milwaukee is already locked with stars Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton at their starting wing position, and Crowder could only be guaranteed to be inserted during closing and crucial moments in several tightly-contested occasions.
If the Bucks are willing to take the gamble and understand the possible consequence that Crowder can be a rental asset, then a deal can only be perfect. As such, what matters the most is seizing every possibility to capitalize their title window, with Antetokounmpo still enjoying the peak stage of his legendary career.