With Kyrie off the table, should Phoenix still shop Eric Bledsoe?
Eric Bledsoe’s one of the more overlooked players in the league right now. In fact, the Kyrie Irving trade rumors were perhaps the most he’s been discussed in years. Now that the dust has settled and Kyrie is not in Phoenix, should the Suns soldier on with a trade anyway?
The team doesn’t have to trade Bledsoe. He’s productive, and on a good contract ($14+$15 over the next two years.) In fact, the sole reason that you may consider moving Bledsoe is a matter of the timeline. He’s only 27, but that’s older than rest of the Sun’s core by a sizable margin. Franchise pillars Devin Booker and Josh Jackson are both 20 years old. To be honest, I don’t know if you can count Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender as a fundamental part of the “core” until they prove more on the court, but obviously, they’re young as well at 20 and 19, respectively. Will Eric Bledsoe still have value by the time those kids blossom? Maybe. Maybe not.
Here would be some potential options if the team did want to revisit trades:
DENVER: The Nuggets had a young core (highlighted by 22-year-old Nikola Jokic) but appeared to accelerate their timeline through the signing of 32-year-old Paul Millsap. Perhaps the older Bledsoe fits into their plans more than young guard Jamal Murray (20). Trading Bledsoe for Murray and cap filler makes some sense on both sides, given their respective timelines. Jamal Murray + Devin Booker could be a big liability defensively, but perhaps their shooting makes up for that.
MILWAUKEE. Like Denver, Milwaukee’s another young team that’s already competing for the playoffs. Bledsoe could be a nice complementary scorer to Giannis Antetokounmpo, and make the Bucks a legitimate threat for the Eastern Conference Finals. In return, the Suns could target rehabbing Jabari Parker, or the cheaper Malcolm Brogdon (+cap filler). Brogdon projects as a solid complement to Booker, given his size and steady play on both sides of the court.
N.Y. KNICKS I’m not a huge believer in the Knicks’ top pick Frank Ntilikina, but he definitely fits into the Suns’ timeline at 19 years old. He also projects as a long, strong defender that would complement Devin Booker. I’m not certain if the Knicks want to (or should) make a big playoff push this year, but adding Bledsoe to the roster may actually give them a chance of pulling that off.