Jae Crowder's Instagram video quoting Ray Lewis reveals mindset in parting with Phoenix Suns
Jae Crowder isn't at Suns training camp, but the organization can't help feel his presence on social media.
His latest Instagram post is a video quoting two-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Famer, Ray Lewis, and motivational speaker Eric Thomas.
Crowder and the Suns have "mutually agreed" he won't attend training camp that began Tuesday. Crowder's message on this Instagram post explains where he stands on the situation.
"ONE MUST SEEK WORK WHERE HE IS WANTED.. WHERE HE IS NEEDED.! I AM THANKFUL FOR WHAT THESE PAST 2 YRS HAVE TAUGHT ME.! NOW I MUST TAKE ON ANOTHER CHALLENGE WITH CONTINUED HARDWORK & DEDICATION.! FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CLOSED THE DOOR ON ME…. THANK YOU! 99 BACK SOON.!"
Sources informed The Republic the Suns tried to trade Crowder to Utah for Bojan Bogdanovic, but talks broken down when Phoenix also wanted Jarred Vanderbilt, who the Jazz got as part of their blockbuster deal that sent Rudy Gobert to Minnesota.
The Jazz later traded Bogdanovic to Detroit for Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee.
Crowder is entering his 11th NBA season after playing a key role in the Suns reaching the 2021 finals and having the league's best record last season at 64-18.
"Everybody has to do what's best for them," Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul said. "I'm always going to support anyone of my teammates, especially somebody like Jae, who is a huge reason why we're even successful the past two years."
Crowder signed a three-year deal with the Suns after helping Miami make it to the 2020 finals in the Orlando bubble, but it appears he won't play that third season in Phoenix.
"It's a little unfortunate," Suns All-Star Devin Booker said. "Jae came in here a couple of years ago and we've done a lot of really good things here. We've shifted this culture, but at the same time, I wish him the best moving forward. That's a friend and a brother that I'll have forever. It ultimately comes down to a business. The team and him have made a choice. We're going to move forward."
Sources also informed The Republic that the Suns had slated Cam Johnson to start this season and have Crowder come off the bench.
Johnson is in discussions with the Suns on a rookie extension that the 2019 lottery pick is eligible for going into his fourth NBA season. During Monday's media day, Johnson said there's "no bad blood" between he and Crowder.
"Your best advocate is your own advocate," Johnson said. "If that's a career move that he feels he needs to make, as a teammate, you want what's best for your guys. You want what's best for your boys. There's no bad blood between Jae and I. Jae has looked out for me the past couple of years. He's taught me a lot. He's shown me a lot. He's somebody I can always call and say, 'What do you see on this?'"
Crowder is definitely being his "best advocate" in his latest Instagram post.
The video begins with a panned shot inside Smoothie King Center in New Orleans were the fans chanted, "F--k Jae Crowder," in Game 4 and Game 6 of the Suns-Pelicans series.
Fans wore "F--k Jae Crowder" t-shirts in Game 6. Booker grabbed several extra shirts and brought them back to the visiting locker room.
So after the Suns won Game 6 in New Orleans to take the first round series, Crowder wore the red shirt with black lettering to the interview room.
The next video shot is of Crowder, wearing dark sunglasses, answering a question about the obscene chant, wearing the shirt and advancing to the next round.
"I've embraced it, I'm embracing it right now," Crowder said.
"I'm embracing it."
Jae Crowder wearing "Fuck Jae Crowder" t-shirt after Game 6 win. #Suns #Pelicans #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/5E5UKJNwsy
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) April 29, 2022
The next video shot is of Mercedes Benz Stadium in Crowder's hometown of Atlanta with a headline, "Two weeks before training camp."
The video then cuts to ESPN's Malika Andrews asking Brian Windhorst how active has the Suns front office been in the last 30 days.
"Active and very active within this last week," Windhorst answered. "They are conducting business. They're in trade negotiations right now. A lot of them are centered around Jae Crowder."
The final 1:37 of the video is showing Crowder working out to the sound of theatrical music with riveting quotes from Lewis and Thomas.
Lewis: "There's not a person on my team in 16 years that has consistently beat me to the ball every play. That ain't got nothing to do with talent. That's just got everything to do with effort."
Thomas: "I guarantee you whatever it is you want to do in life, you'll be able to do. You will be able to accomplish whatever you want to do academically, financially, relationally, whatever."
Thomas: "And then once you find out what you want, spend the rest of your natural life waking up and going after it."
Lewis: "Fifteen straight years, 12 Pro Bowls later, if you want numbers. I done saw all of it and the only thing that's kept me around is my effort cause I wasn't the No. 1 recruit. I wasn't the No. 1 linebacker. All I ever knew was effort would get me seen on tape. Effort will get me noticed to get me to the league. Effort would one day take care of my mom."
The video ends hearing Lewis shout, "It ain't about wins and losses. it's about focus. It's about understanding I'm going to make the play or I'm going to watch the play be made."
Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at email@example.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Jae Crowder's video reveals motivation in parting with Phoenix Suns