NBA Rumors: Suns Target Specific Heat Player In Crowder Talks

The Phoenix Suns continue to shop holdout Jae Crowder, but his preferred destination, the Miami Heat, might be slipping away, based on the latest rumor. According to SNY's Ian Begley, "some with Phoenix see Miami’s Max Strus as an integral part of any return for Crowder." That might put the kibosh on any deal, as the Heat are unlikely to part with their breakthrough small forward.

Strus is being relied on more than ever in the Heat's rotation, playing 32 minutes a game, and scoring a career-high 14.2 points with 3.9 rebounds per contest. Last season, he hit on 41% of his shots from beyond the arc, though he's at 36% thus far this year. 

Crowder is sitting at home, as a wasted asset right now for the 8-4 Suns. The man who replaced him in the starting lineup, power forward Cam Johnson is out for up to two months after surgery on his torn meniscus, and Crowder's absence is now being felt by the depth-challenged Suns. 

ESPN's Brian Windhorst confirmed earlier this week that Johnson's injury hasn't changed the Crowder situation, and "there are no current plans for him to return to the team, sources said."

The 32-year-old Crowder, who has played 10 seasons, averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game for the Suns last year. 

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