SUNS

Dario Saric, Bojan Bogandovic spoke about possibly being Suns teammates amid Jazz trade talks

Dana Scott
Arizona Republic

It's rare for European players to be teammates on the same national team and the same NBA roster. 

But it could've happened this month if the Jazz had agreed to send one of their former top players Bojan Bogdanovic to Phoenix in exchange for the Suns' veteran starting power forward Jae Crowder.

Suns big Dario Saric and Bogdanovic both played on Team Croatia this summer. The team finished 12th in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022.

Saric, who's entering his sixth year and third with the Suns, missed all of last season to rehabilitate a torn ACL he suffered in Game 1 of the 2021 finals.

More:Video reveals Jae Crowder's motivation in wanting to part ways with Suns

In his first full practice with the Suns in a year on Tuesday, Saric said he split time this summer between working out with their assistant coach Brian Randle in Phoenix and Bogdanovic in Europe.

“We go against each other in practice and it was really helpful for me to feel the high level of basketball,” Saric said about training closely with Bogdanovic.

Since he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets to Utah in 2018, the eight-year veteran Bogdanovic was one of Utah's top three scorers over the past three years. He finished second last season (18.1 points per game) behind Donovan Mitchell, and was a consistent outside shooter at 45.5%, with % from 3, and nearly 40% from beyond the arc for his career. 

Phoenix Suns Dario Saric (20) at media day in Phoenix on Sept. 26, 2022.

After Utah was knocked out of the West playoffs in the first round by the Mavericks, Quin Snyder stepped down as Utah's head coach after eight seasons, and their new CEO Danny Ainge decided to tear down the team roster. 

Ainge's first step was when he shipped off starter Royce O’Neale to Brooklyn in late June.

Ainge also orchestrated the blockbuster deal that traded three-time Defensive Player of the Year and All-Star Rudy Gobert to Minnesota for five Timberwolves players, including Patrick Beverley, high-leaping young power forward Jarred Vanderbilt and five first-round picks in July.

Beverley was traded once more to the Lakers in exchange for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson in August, and Mitchell was sent to Cleveland on Sept. 1.

Then, the trade talks with the Suns took place.

But the trade attempt to send Crowder to Utah fell through when the Suns wanted Vanderbilt added in the deal along with Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic ended up being traded to the Detroit Pistons for Kelly Olynyk, Saben Lee and cash considerations on Monday.

“We talked a couple times about that. You know, it would be nice. But things played differently now and he went to Detroit. But of course we talked. All players talk, especially if we are from the same country. We are all the time in touch, so of course we talk the whole situation about trades and everything.”

The Crowder-Bogdanovic trade talks is widely speculated to be one of the reasons for the friction between Crowder and the Suns. On Sunday, the Suns announced he and the their management "mutually agreed" for him to not attend training camp as he wants out of Phoenix.

Crowder has one year left on his three-year contract.

Bogdanovic knew he was on the trading block. It was just a matter of where and when, and he's happy to be part of the rebuilding Pistons team.

"I kind of knew that I was going to be traded. I was just waiting to see where I'm gonna end up," Bogdanovic said at the Pistons' first day of training camp on Tuesday.

"Super excited to be here with this young group of guys and a coach that is really experienced. Everything is great so far."

Have tips for us? Reach the reporter at dana.scott@azcentral.com or at 480-486-4721. Follow his Twitter @iam_DanaScott.

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