Report: Chris Paul recruited Jae Crowder away from Miami Heat

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The Miami Heat’s effort to re-sign Jae Crowder in free agency came up short, with a new report indicating that Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul helped play a role in Crowder’s departure.

Paul appeared on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast and spoke of a conversation he had with Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones shortly after Paul was traded to the Suns. Upon hearing of Jones’ interest in Crowder, he contacted the veteran, in part because of the respect he has for him.

“After getting to Phoenix, I talked to James Jones,” Paul said. “He said we might have a shot at Jae Crowder. So I called him, I called Jae, and I just respect him because he [is] a dog you know what I mean, he [is] gonna guard, he don’t care who the guy is. And remember when I got into it with Duncan Robinson? . . . Nobody said nothing to me, the only person who said something to me was Jae Crowder. Crowder was on the bench, and he was like ‘Yo CP, what’s up with that?’ and I respect that.”

Crowder had been acquired by the Heat in February and was a key part of the team’s postseason push that got it within two games of an NBA title.

Paul’s reference to Robinson recalled the incident when Paul threw a ball at Robinson during a game within the NBA bubble. In response, Robinson’s teammate Jimmy Butler drove his shoulder into Paul.

Despite a concerted effort to extend Crowder’s time with the Heat, the veteran chose to sign a three-year, $29.2 million contract with the Suns. In recent years, Crowder has bounced around the league, with the Suns his sixth different team since the start of the 2016-17 season.

Paul had once been seen as a potential acquisition for the Heat, talk that had largely tailed off since last year.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.