It feels like trade rumors have been swirling around the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns for months. A swap of Grayson Allen for Jae Crowder has been floating around, but hasn’t quite materialized.
Only time will tell if a deal can be struck—it appears Milwaukee is ready to pull the trigger while the Suns are trying to get a better player back in a deal. While we wait, here are pros and cons to the Bucks trading away Allen and receiving Crowder in his wake.
Pro: Defensive Switchability
The biggest advantage of acquiring Crowder over Allen is the switchability he brings to the defensive end of the court. At 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, Crowder not only has the size and skills to defend up or down a position, but the proven track record as well. Milwaukee would have more flexibility to play an entirely switching unit or stick with their primary defense as is and ask Crowder to fight over and through screens. He can do both well.
He could also be part of a lineup that unlocks Giannis Antetokounmpo at the 5. Imagine a crew of Antetokounmpo-Crowder-Middleton-Carter-Holiday. Going in the other direction, the Bucks could trot out Lopez-Portis-Antetokounmpo-Crowder-Holiday. The possibilities are endless!
The Bucks have Allen locked up into a team-friendly deal worth $8.5 million this season and in 2023-24. He’ll become a free agent in the summer of ‘24. That’s a nice deal for a player who might have some untapped potential remaining (more on that later). He’s also only 27-years-old and perfectly aligns with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s long-term timeline.
As for Crowder, he’s in the final year of a deal that pays him about $10.2 million before he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. It’s clear he values a starting position, as that’s part of why he has yet to report to the Phoenix Suns this season. He’s also 32 and would add to the Bucks’ long list of aging players past their prime. Milwaukee would risk losing him in the offseason with nothing to show for a guy who was under contract for another season.
Pro: Playoff Proven
Crowder has proven himself as someone who can stay on the floor during a deep playoff run. His defense means teams are unable to exploit him on that end of the floor. His offense is a bigger question mark.
He doesn’t create his own shots, nor should he. That means he must rely on his three-point shot to provide value as a spot-up shooter. He’s a career 33.9 percent three-point shooter in the postseason, a number that should give you pause. His volatility is high—in the Suns’ NBA Finals run in 2021, he made just 30 percent in their opening series, but 41 percent in six games against the Bucks. However, Milwaukee also found different ways for P.J. Tucker to provide offensive value during their Finals run as well.
Allen is the opposite, I think. He was a valuable offensive contributor during the Bucks’ first round series against the Bulls. His efficiency dropped significantly against the Celtics, but that could be due to the loss of Khris Middleton and Allen’s rise up the totem pole. He was targeted defensively and struggled to hold his own against better players. Any trade the Bucks make should have the playoff implications as the primary purpose.
Con: Loss Of Playmaking/Shooting
Allen has shown signs of becoming more of a playmaker this season. He’s attacking the basket more than ever before and is finding open teammates when the defense crashes. He’s also on pace to set a career-high in three-point percentage for the second consecutive season. He leaves a lot to be desired in his finishing abilities, however.
The Bucks’ offense has struggled this season and has been a common theme in recent playoff runs. Trading a defensive-minded wing for an offensive one will further limit their ability to score when the game slows down. This is a factor they must weigh heavily as they try to get back to the top of the NBA.