This article is going to show why trading Eric Bledsoe for the Phoenix Suns is a good idea, with possibly trade scenarios included.
The Suns are a bubble team, everyone knows it, but Phoenix just cannot seem to escape this bubble. Eric Bledsoe is a great player, one of the better ones in league if you look at advanced statistics. Even with this said, Bledsoe has never been able to take control of this team, and lead it to anything worthwhile, and trying to use him to obtain a star player with leadership capability is worth investing the time to do, or looking at getting a package of young players and draft picks. With news the Suns are ready to offer Brandon Knight a deal around $70 million, Bledsoe becomes expendable, and will be a coveted addition to many teams across the league and here are a few hypothetical trade scenarios I have created.
2016 First Round Pick
Philadelphia does this trade to add a potent scorer to their offense. Their lack of guard depth, along with their plethora of young centers will likely make one of them available this summer. Most links reported with the 76ers is for them trading Nerlens Noel for Marcus Smart. Smart is a good player, but does not offer the same type of upside as Bledsoe, and Okafor holds more value to obtain a better player. Noel also has the ability to play the four, while Okafor and Embiid are strictly centers, which should make for one of them to be moved. The 76ers would have to give up their rights to one of their many 2016 first round picks, but with most of them being top 15 protected, this pick is not worth as much to them, as an already developed point guard, capable of handling the scoring load for them.
Phoenix does this trade in order to build around an elite prospect. With Brandon Knight a restricted free agent, Phoenix will likely bring him back, so moving Bledsoe for an elite big does not hurt as much. With trading away Bledsoe, the Suns can build around Okafor, Knight, Booker, Morris, and Warren, which will likely struggle in the Western Conference next season, but offer a great future, and a high draft pick next season. Phoenix will also gain a first round pick in this scenario, but it will likely be protected in next year’s draft, so they will likely have to wait a season or two to get that pick.
2018 First Round Pick(Via Miami)
I know DeMarcus Cousins is pretty much untradeable, and it is much more likely George Karl is fired first, but maybe a change of scenery is in need for both players. In this trade, the Kings add three young guys, who can make a difference for them. Cousins and Stein are not a good duo for a frontcourt, but Morris and Stein fits a lot better. Morris may not be as dominate as Cousins, but he can still give 15-20 points a night. Bledsoe gives them a dynamic point guard to use in Karl’s system, as well as another young building block. Warren is an explosive scorer from the wing, who the Kings could use at the small forward, or off the bench. The first round pick, is also an added bonus, although not till 2018, this is when the Kings should be good again, talent wise, and this pick will allow for them to just bolster that squad. If the Kings were to do this deal, Rudy Gay would also be traded, but that is another article in itself. Getting rid of Carl Landry’s contract would make this trade that much more appealing to the Kings, as he is way overpaid for how little impact he has.
The Suns would be in great shape after this trade. They would have a core of Cousins, Booker, and Knight. Although they would be in search of another forward, next year’s draft offers many options at these positions. The spacing Booker and Knight will provide should allow for Cousins to dominate down low, and cause nightmares for opposing coaches to prepare for. Although Phoenix has a lot of cap space this summer, no marquee free agents have expressed interest in playing in the desert, leaving for the Suns to have to make a big move in a trade. This trade would be the most beneficial to both sides, as each gains either a star player, or a high talent group of young players to work with.
2016 First Round Pick
2019 First Round Pick
Indiana needs to find another dynamic scorer to pair with Paul George to compete with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers next season. Bledsoe would give them that and more. The Pacers are in the market to try and trade Roy Hibbert after selecting Myles Turner in the 2015 NBA draft. George Hill would be a big loss on the leadership standpoint, but Bledsoe would be a way better offensive addition. Not having a lot of young talent forces the Pacers to have to give up future draft picks, but with Bledsoe still being young, George and him can be great franchise pillars to build around, and lure other free agents to come play with them.
This is not a great trade for Phoenix in many ways other than building for the future. Hibbert is not a great addition, but as an expiring contract, he gives the Suns plenty of cap flexibility to be big players in next year’s free agency. Having the cap flexibility next offseason will be crucial, as many stars hit free agency. George Hill will bring veteran leadership and toughness to the squad, which is needed in Phoenix. The two draft picks are what makes Phoenix pull the trigger, as this trade will make them worse, earning them a higher lottery pick, and then still having the Pacer’s draft pick to add more talent later on.
2016 First Round Pick
With a hole at the point guard position, the Rockets will be busy this offseason trying to fill it. After getting dismantled by the Golden State Warriors, this past postseason, the return of Kevin Durant, and the potential for San Antonio to add LaMarcus Aldridge, the Rockets will need to add something big this offseason to compete with those teams. The Rockets would have to give up a lot for Bledsoe, as these players seem to be role players at best. Capela did show a lot of upside last season in limited action, but Bledsoe offers the ability to immediately contribute right away.
Phoenix will have a lot of young players to work with, or have the ability to try and target a star player with these prospects. Most of these players are projected role players, but as stated before, Capela has shown some great upside. These players would give the Suns a very young, potent bench to work with. If all these players can develop into solid contributors, either as starters, or role players, Phoenix would raise its chances greatly of drawing a marquee free agent. The draft pick as always is an added bonus, as Phoenix would continue to stockpile talent for the future.
Of all four trades, I think Houston will be one of the most active teams in pursuit of Bledsoe, but Philadelphia could be a dark horse contender to land him. Both trades presented from either of these teams will help each team develop into better teams as a whole. The Suns will be very reluctant to let go of Bledsoe, but a package of young prospects and draft picks, and the thought of being the dreaded bubble team should force them to trade him at some point this offseason/season.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17