Buzz permeated NBA circles over the past week that the Phoenix Suns are close to finding a deal for veteran Jae Crowder, who has been working out away from the team all season, staying in shape for an eventual trade.

The Suns have several suitors, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors. One executive told B/R that the final result could be a multi-team trade with three, four or even five NBA franchises.

The Bucks are believed to be offering Grayson Allen, and the Hawks are shopping Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Holiday and/or John Collins. None appear to appeal to the Suns immediately.

The Houston Rockets may be the key to a Crowder deal (along with Dario Šaric), with Kenyon Martin Jr. and Eric Gordon the potential return for Phoenix. The Rockets would want real value back, be it quality young prospects and/or draft considerations.

Working in the Warriors is harder to peg, given their prior refusal to talk trade with players like James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. Last year, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic wrote the Warriors "think Wiseman's going to be a star."

But Golden State (8-10) has looked vulnerable in the West, just one year after winning a title. Is there a strong enough return that can shake loose some of the team's top prospects and help catapult the franchise back to the top of the conference?


Defense Uncharacteristically Lacking

In their title pursuit, the Warriors had the second-best defensive rating (106.6 points allowed per 100 possessions) over the regular season behind the NBA Finals runner-up Boston Celtics (106.2).

This season, the Warriors have taken a sizable step backward to 27th with a defensive rating of 114.1.

"The Warriors let their bench go in free agency and are hurting," a Western Conference executive said, noting the team hasn't adequately replaced Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. "I like Moody, but the verdicts are still out on Wiseman and Kuminga."