The NBA Twitter-sphere has been ablaze over the weekend due to the recent tweets and reports regarding the status of Eric Bledsoe’s relationship with the Phoenix Suns organization. The Suns, who have had a rocky 0-3 start behind the worst point-differential in the last 10 seasons over the first 3 games of a season, have been the worst team in the NBA, and it’s not really close. Bledsoe, arguably the best two-way player on the Suns, was not happy with how the direction of the franchise was headed, and finally decided to tweet out his frustrations publicly.
Considering the relative weakness in Phoenix’s position and ability to negotiate a more fair package to offload Bledsoe, here are a few potential suitors for Bledsoe’s services, as well as a potential package that each would send to Phoenix.
Receive: Eric Bledsoe
Send: John Henson, 2018 first round pick (lottery protected in 2018 and 2019, converts to 2020 and 2021 second-round picks if not conveyed), cash
This trade is one of the better packages that the Suns can hope to get out of Bledsoe. John Henson is a serviceable defensive power forward option that can play at both the 4 and the 5, which Phoenix could use in a desperate way. They are allowing a league-worst 58.5 eFG%, as well as a league worst defensive rating of 120.8, which is on pace to be the worst defensive rating in league history, which has been tracked back as far as 1973.
Henson can defend the rim and rebound on both ends, and can score as a rim roller and lob man. The pick will most likely convey in 2018, as the Bucks play in a weak Eastern Conference and Bledsoe makes them better (which we’ll get to in a second), so the Suns can pick up some young talent to continue their rebuilding project.
For the Bucks, Bledsoe immediately slots in as the starting point guard alongside Tony Snell. Bledsoe can play as the primary ball-handler, as well as off-ball when Giannis wants to be the primary creator. He also allows the Bucks to bring Malcolm Brogdon off of the bench to run the second-unit offense, which would suit him better because of his lack of true point-guard skills. Bledsoe can also guard the best guards on the opposing team (John Wall, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, etc), which allows the Bucks to have a more potent defensive, which currently ranks 27th in the NBA based on defensive rating. The Bucks would finally have their true point guard that they’ve been looking for since they traded Brandon Knight to Phoenix, ironically.
Receive: Eric Bledsoe
Send: Emmanuel Mudiay, Darrell Arthur, 2019 first round pick (top-10 protected in 2019 and 2020, converts to 2021 and 2022 second round picks if not conveyed)
For the Denver package of Emmanuel Mudiay, Darrell Arthur, and a lottery protected first round pick, the Suns looks to grab a young point guard that Denver finds expendable, given that their future is built around Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. Mudiay is still very young at 21 years old, even though he’s been in the NBA for 2 full seasons already. Mudiay can be the young point guard that the Suns can build around as a very serviceable offensive point guard. Darrell Arthur can also be a veteran presence in the locker room full of younger players in Phoenix, as well as being a playable power forward and center in smaller lineups.
On the Denver side of the trade, Bledsoe fits in to the Denver system the same way that he does with the Bucks. He immediately slots in as the best defender at the guard position for Mike Malone’s team that boasts one of the best offensive units in the league. In crunch time lineups, having Bledsoe and Paul Millsap defend a pick and roll action would be one of the best defensive lineups for that situation in the entire league, and would immediately make the Nuggets one of the better teams in the stacked Western Conference.
Recap: With the impending trade of Eric Bledsoe from Phoenix, teams around the league are certainly intrigued by the prospect of having that defensive-first guard that can play offense as well. Don’t be shocked if Bledsoe gets flipped to a team that needs more defense in the backcourt, such as Milwaukee or Denver.
Those teams will immediately gain a boost from acquiring Bledsoe, and Bledsoe hopefully will become more content with being somewhere besides Phoenix.