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Suns expect to keep Eric Bledsoe, everybody's talking about Giannis the Point Guard

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Plus a look back at the performance of Milwaukee's rookie sensation in Las Vegas.

Christian Petersen

So is Eric Bledsoe coming over or what?

AZ Central: Phoenix Suns "expect" Eric Bledsoe to return
It stands to reason that, even on the internet, there's only so much room for offseason trade rumors surrounding big-name players. So every megabyte of text compiled on the continuing Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins trade saga is one less available for covering Eric Bledsoe's ongoing free agency. That's the best explanation for the suddenly quiet situation in Phoenix, where the Suns are reportedly content to play the long game with their young star. Despite impasses in contract negotiations and the constant swirl of rumors, Bledsoe's departure hardly seems imminent, or even likely, with possible destinations apparently drying up in front of him:

Milwaukee considered being a suitor but has not been involved on him for a few days and has used chunks of cap space, adding Phoenician combo guard Jerryd Bayless and former Suns point guard Kendall Marshall to a point guard tandem of Brandon Knight and Nate Wolters.

We can't say conclusively that Milwaukee is out of the running for Bledsoe's services. A sign-and-trade now looks like the most likely method for bringing him aboard (barring a cap-clearing trade that ships out one of Milwaukee's higher-priced veterans), and the Bucks still have a few assets that could be used to swing such a deal. But doing so still requires Bledsoe's blessing, and he's angling for a substantial contract. Electing to pay Bledsoe a ton of money is one thing, giving up young players or draft picks for the right to do so is quite another. The likelihood of anything happening continues to shrink, even if it hasn't ticked all the way to zero just yet.

OK whatever let's just talk some more about Giannis.

(F)unorthodox: On the New Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Mind of Jason Kidd - Grantland

Turning Antetokounmpo loose was the first step in Kidd’s roster experimentation over the next few months. It doesn’t hurt that the decision has generated intrigue in the press and empowered one of the team’s cornerstones to embrace his creative impulses. Despite functioning as the "point guard," Antetokounmpo was listed as the center in two of his four summer games. He is in the rare company of Magic Johnson (1980 NBA Finals, Game 6) and LeBron James (2012 NBA Finals, Game 1), of lead ball handlers who have also jumped at tipoff. This is the breadth of Antetokounmpo’s reach. Each possession is an opportunity for Giannis to transform into something new. He’s the video-game fantasy come to life, and he now has the perfect coach behind the joystick.

As Bucks' Antetokounmpo reaches new heights, expectations rise - CBSSports.com

"Freakish," Sanders said. "He's a freakish athlete, man. He's just so athletic and skilled. I think his potential is just phenomenal. I mean, he can be as good as he wants to be. But yeah, when he did that tip dunk, he missed the floater and then just jumped like immediately, like boing-boing, and he just, boom, I was like, OK, this kid is just, he's the real deal."

The Bucks tried Antetokounmpo out in the preseason, and he didn't look out of place. When they'd played a handful of games and he was near or at the top of several statistical categories, they re-evaluated their plan to take things slowly.

"We started like scratching our heads, saying, 'Is this for real?' " Hammond said.

The Enigma and Glory of Giannis Antetokounmpo - Behind the Buck Pass
Our friend Sylvan Zarwell (aka MadTown Hoops) waxes poetic about the possibilities implied by what we saw from Giannis in Vegas:

Kidd doesn't compare Giannis to past players. He embraces his alien hybrid superstar as a true original. At the Las Vegas Summer League, Giannis put together four of the strongest performances of his career, averaging 17.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, a steal and a block to go with .462 FG% and .375 3PT%. For much of his time on court, he was the team's primary ball handler. In games featuring the league's best young players, Antetokounmpo stood out.

How about that other exciting young fellow?

SI.com: Lottery picks in Las Vegas Summer League

Milwaukee finished 1-4, but Bucks fans had reason to be generally pleased with Parker’s performance. Although Parker, 19, averaged five turnovers, he looked comfortable with the ball and moved smoothly. It was easy to envision his developing into a No. 1 scoring option: The 6-8 forward played both inside and out, faced up from outside, found soft spots for mid-range looks and did a little work from the post. Parker rebounded well for much of the week, including games of 15 and 11 boards. He also made some nice reads from the elbow, even though he didn’t pile up assists. To no one’s great surprise, his defense lagged behind his offense, but it’s best to hold off on critical assessments until he’s playing with and against true NBA competition.

Parker bounces back to show why he was No. 2 pick | NBA.com
Jabari finishes his Summer League campaign in the #9 spot on Scott Howard-Cooper's Rookie Ladder, which is actually a step up after he dropped out of the top ten entirely earlier in the tournament. A strong showing in his final game left viewers with good impressions, and he showed a lot of good things throughout Summer League even if his numbers weren't spectacular.

NBA.com: Bucks 28th in mid-summer power rankings
Still, all the good feeling about the Point Giant and Parker can't change the fact that Milwaukee is just beginning what's likely to be a long rebuilding process. John Schuhmann ranks the Bucs ahead of only the Jazz and 76ers and points to Larry Sanders' return to the court as a big question mark for the team's future.

Nylon Calculus - Protecting the Paint: SportVU and Rim Protection
One point in Larry's favor? According to a couple novel metrics drawn up by Nylon Calculus, Sanders remains one of the five or ten best rim-defending big men in the NBA.

By the way, if you haven't already checked out Nylon Calculus, it's one site you're going to want to add to your bookmark list, if for no other reason than the fantastic (and mercifully accessible) shot charts.