While the national Milwaukee Bucks storyline everybody is talking about being Giannis Antetokounmpo and his transcendence, it’s easy to forget that there’s other guys on the roster and other moves that could be made. Over the last 24 hours, we were reminded about how quickly opportunities can become available...and as always, Twitter was the catalyst.
Things are not great for the Phoenix Suns. Sitting at 0-3 on the young season, they had already appeared ready to pack it in for the year. Eric Bledsoe, the longest-tenured Sun and oft-injured point guard, was one of the more disengaged members of the Phoenix squad...but became the undisputed king of upset Suns when he Tweeted this:
I Dont wanna be here— Eric Bledsoe (@EBled2) October 22, 2017
Not only did this statement confirm what many had already observed, but it sent shockwaves through the Phoenix organization...and head coach Earl Watson found himself ousted.
Phoenix coach Earl Watson has been fired, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 22, 2017
The timing beween Bledsoe’s
cry for help tweet was short enough to likely not be directly related to Watson’s termination, but the narrative is more fun this way. What makes the story even better is the Bledsoe camp’s excuse for what “here” meant in his (not so) cryptic tweet:
McDonough RE: Bledsoe's tweet: "He said he was at a hair salon... I didn't believe that to be true. He won't be with us going forward."— ABC15 Sports (@abc15sports) October 23, 2017
So what now? Obviously there’s no way the Suns can keep Bledsoe around, and it was quickly reported that they were engaged in discussions to set up a trade, including keeping Bledsoe away from the team during their game against Sacramento tonight.
Sources: Suns engaged in trade talks w/ several teams on Bledsoe. Phoenix soliciting offers with expectation he’s on move elsewhere. https://t.co/mj4raCATlp— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 23, 2017
And before you ask, yes, the Milwaukee Bucks were one of the teams interested in Eric Bledsoe.
The Bucks are a team that has expressed interest in trading for Eric Bledsoe, according to league sources— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 23, 2017
So where do we go from here? The Suns, as lowly of a basement dweller as you’ll find this season, have virtually no leverage, because both the player and the team has zero interest in continuing together. Bledsoe might have a spotty injury history, but also has produced at a high level that, combined with solid athleticism and a 6’7 1/2” wingspan, would be a major boon for the Bucks...depending on what they give up.
Bledsoe has two years remaining on his deal: $14.5m this season and $15.0m in 2018-19. While a trade for Greg Monroe ($17.9m this season, expiring in the summer) would work straight-up, the Bucks would likely have to give up a draft pick to grease the wheels, and would also be giving up significant salary cap flexibility next season (since Bledsoe is still under contract).
Targeting any of the “bad” contracts that the Bucks hold wouldn’t make a ton of sense for Phoenix either, since their main focus is rebuilding as soundly as possible. Matthew Dellavedova, Mirza Teletovic, or John Henson might not move the needle the way the Suns would like, and the young assets the Bucks might be willing to attach (Rashad Vaughn, D.J. Wilson, or maybe Sterling Brown) aren’t rich enough either.
The Bucks are also competing against other teams for the right to take on Eric Bledsoe. Above-average point guards are relatively common in today’s NBA, and while their skill sets may differ, few teams are both in need of a point guard and willing to give up assets to acquire one like Bledsoe. You also have teams like the Knicks that will get into the bidding for reasons nobody quite understands:
Phoenix Suns asked New York Knicks for Frank Ntlikina and Willy Hernangomez in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, league sources told @BBallInsiders— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) October 23, 2017
For my part, Eric Bledsoe would immediately be the best point guard on the Bucks’ roster (sorry Malcolm Brogdon), but acquiring him would only be worthwhile if there was a way to offload one of the Bucks’ bad multi-year contracts. That’s just me; what about you? What would you give up for Bledsoe? Is he even worth trading for? Let us know in the comments, and let’s see where this wild ride takes us.