Jae Crowded Feeling "Blindsided" By Phoenix Suns

One of the biggest questions of this NBA season is what possessed Jae Crowder to demand a trade from the championship-contending (at the time) Phoenix Suns? He was supposedly upset that he wasn't being given an extension, and his starting role was presumably going to be handed over to the younger Cam Johnson. 

Now, Crowder has told Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes just how he saw it going down. And you might be surprised to hear his version of events:

This move of pushing me out the door was a blindsided hit to not only me but my teammates, as you can see from speaking to them and myself and the conversations we’ve had behind closed doors... 

I’ve spoken to every player that I’ve played with on that team and they all have stressed how much they miss [me] and respect my decision, and I’m thankful for their understanding. 

                                                                                   Jae Crowder

Suns teammate Mikal Bridges verified some of Crowder's claims, by telling Haynes, "That's one of our leaders. I texted him not too long ago and told him how much I miss him. That's my guy. It's the NBA. It happens. I know he wants to be here, but it's the league. That's just how it is sometimes."

The 32-year-old Crowder says he's been working out every day at Georgia Tech and is "in great shape."

"I am thankful my teammates appreciated my leadership," continued Crowder. "I'm confused and hurt my coaches didn't appreciate the things I brought to our team and organization. And this has nothing to do with financial or contract differences."

In addition to Crowder's absence, the Suns are struggling this season with a large number of injuries, including to Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Cam Johnson, and Cameron Payne. They're now under .500, at 21-22, in 7th in the Western Conference. 

Photo: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports