You ever seen one of those situations where two people get along great, and it makes you ooh and ahh?
I think of an old couple holding hands while walking through a park, or a soldier returning home to family, or a puppy chasing a ball. Those are all really nice moments, times when you think, “Man, things are pretty nice in the world.”
Eric Bledsoe’s relationship with the Phoenix Suns has been the opposite of those moments.
Now, there are reports, likely leaked from a disgruntled player and his agent, that the Suns would be open to trading Bledsoe if an attractive enough offer came along. The Suns seem to be wanting to “trade up” for a player that can make an impact right now.
What does “trading up” mean? I’m not certain, but it probably doesn’t mean introducing Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb at a press conference and pocketing two future first-round picks.
Should the Suns trade Bledsoe? Should Bledsoe sign his qualifying offer? Should Bledsoe take less money? Let’s assume that Bledsoe is going to be traded, will sign a larger offer than the Suns are providing, but the Suns get back something of value in return. Which teams should be firing up their [insert mascot here] signal and assembling the front office members?
New York Knicks
I’m kidding, the Knicks have nothing of value that the Suns would want in return, unless Bill and Ted bring 2007 Stoudemire back from the past to run the pick and roll with Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic. That’s a fictional movie? Got it, moving on.
Seriously, Iman Shumpert and whatever salary-matching player is like trading a Whopper for Five Guys – gonna be a hard no.
How good would the team up north become with Eric Bledsoe playing next to Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan? While Masai Ujiri has flexed his persuasive powers in the past, trading for Bledsoe would be another “How he do that?” moment for one of the top general manager’s in the league. DeRozan was tremendous as a two-guard last season, and Lowry wasn’t bad at the point either, but that’s something for Dwane Casey to figure out later.
What would it cost the Raptors? It might take some Ujiri-magic, but sending Amir Johnson and Terrence Ross in exchange for Bledsoe and PJ Tucker would make both teams better. Tucker can defend and man the wing with Landry Fields waving his towel on the bench, and Bruno Caboclo will be the future starter in three years.
I’d give this option 3 out of 5 stars – good, but not great.
This isn’t a team looking to win right now. In fact, I would say that the mere thought of starting Giannis at point guard shows they are trying to experiment with some things. But adding Bledsoe to a core of Jabari Parker and the aforementioned Antetokounmpo is a dang good core going forward. It’d be like taking a Vin Diesel-Paul Walker duo and adding in the Rock – you’ve already found something good, and then you went and made things totally awesome.
Packaging a deal around Ersan Ilyasova is risky, especially because of the risk surrounding a player coming back from injury. Alleviating that risk with a known constant like Zaza Pachulia would be great, and is a cheap way to get some blocks, rebounds, and six fouls off the bench.
I’d give this option 3.5 out of 5 stars – okay, you’ve got me thinking, and it’s not too crazy.
In a world, where Paul George has been eliminated, Larry Bird finds himself alone with his title hopes vanquished. Lance Stephenson is gone, Roy Hibbert is dealing with trade offers, and the liquor store near the Vogel home is about to see a rise in their quarterly sales. Want something to brighten the dreary winter nights on the horizon? How about a dynamic guard who is a force on defense and wants to be an alpha dog on offense?
Unfortunately, the Pacers would likely need to send David West over in a deal for Bledsoe. I am of the opinion that it would be a trade that is mutually beneficial. The Pacers get a player that keeps their team relevant now as well as plays alongside Paul George in the future, while the Suns get a veteran power forward who can teach the Morrii duo how to use their elbows to rebound and scare the piss out of the other team.
I’d give this option 4.5 out of 5 stars – it’s likely the best return for Phoenix, and cements their status as a playoff team.
The Nuggets are a dark horse in the Bledsoe games. They already have their fair share of players recovering from injuries – Danilo Gallinari, J.J. Hickson, Nate Robinson, JaVale McGee – and adding a fifth player to that group would be crazy. But the Nuggets have to be crazy if they want to win, because they’re not getting many looks from marquee free agents and the Western Conference is an obstacle not easily conquered. Brian Shaw wants a team that counts defense as its strength, and has been more lenient in allowing the offense to push the pace. Acquiring Bledsoe would give the Nuggets a small backcourt with Lawson at the other guard position, but it would also be a fast and strong backcourt that could give them an edge.
Why is this unlikely? It’s difficult to imagine because the Suns would need Kenneth Faried, owner of a an expiring rookie contract, in return. Would a trade package built around Faried and Bledsoe be enough for the two teams to reach an agreement? Would Bledsoe want to stick around Denver as a franchise player? Tim Connelly ought to at least dial up Ryan McDonough and see what he wants. We already know how the phone conversation would go: “What do you want Ryan McDonough? What do you want?”
I’d give this option 4 stars out of 5. A young, talented power forward in return for our disgruntled guard?
Likely Conclusion to the Eric Bledsoe Sweepstakes?
Kevin Love will be traded to the Cavaliers, talks will continue to stall between the Suns and Bledsoe, and an agreement will eventually be reached. The fun part will be finding out when.