Monday 22nd April 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Sign and Trade Offers for Eric Bledsoe That Would Make Some Sense

Phoenix Suns v Sacramento Kings

As you have heard by now, we are a month into NBA free agency and the Phoenix Suns and their 24-year-old do everything point guard Eric Bledsoe (or “Mini LeBron” as he’s called) are still far apart in their negotiations for a new contract for the restricted free agent.

The Suns reportedly offered Bledsoe a 4 year, $48 million contract near the beginning of free agency and according to a report from Arizona Republic Reporter Paul Coro, Bledsoe and his agent Rich Paul (also LeBron’s agent) are seeking a five year max deal worth $80 million.

Bledsoe made his first comment on the contract situation this past weekend while at a “BallUp” street ball tournament in Birmingham, Alabama:

First off I’m going to let my agent handle it,” Bledsoe said. “I can understand the Phoenix Suns are using a restricted free agent against me. But I understand that.”

If Bledsoe really wants to become an unrestricted free agent he can by sign the qualifying offer the Suns issued for one season at $6.5 million. Leaving $40 million on the table is a huge risk for a player who has already had two knee surgeries.

The most likely scenario is Bledsoe coming back to planet earth and realizing that four-year $48 million contract is more than fair for a player that has never logged 2,000 minutes in a season or played a few season as a starter. Especially considering the fact that more accomplished or experienced point guards such as Kyle Lowry (who signed that exact deal this summer), Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday and Steph Curry all make $11 or $12 million a year. Not to mention, another talented 25-year-old point guard named Isaiah Thomas who averaged 20 points and 6 assists last season just sign a four year deal for just under $7 million a season.

The reality is the NBA is as full of point guard talent as it has ever been and there aren’t many teams in desperate need of a point guard across the league today. This is a big reason why Bledsoe hasn’t been signed to a max offer sheet like other restricted free agent this offseason such as Gordon Hayward (4 years, $63 million) and Chandler Parsons (3 years, $46 million) who play wing positions where there is a shortage of talent currently in the NBA.

Bledsoe is definitely a stat sheet stuffer who is brimming with two-way potential and averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 43 games last season. He is most assuredly still a part of the Suns plans as a compliment to either Goran Dragic or now Isaiah Thomas as the Suns dive head first into their two point guard at all times hyper speed attacking offense.

If the Suns finally do become open to the idea of doing a sign-and-trade for Bledsoe here are a few scenarios that would make some sense…

Trade w/ Milwaukee for Larry Sanders and a 1st or John Henson and Brandon Knight

Larry-Sanders1

Milwaukee would be the most likely team to be involved in a sign-and-trade for Bledsoe as they have between $11-13 million in cap space almost enough to sign Bledsoe to the kind of deal he wants, and they are one of a few teams with a need and an interest in him. The only way the Suns would consider not matching an offer from the Bucks though is if they got some talent in return. Sanders, although a mess last season, is elite at an extremely hard to find skill in the NBA these days: An athletic center who can anchor a defense and protect the paint. A skill the Suns need badly. Another pick, even if it has certain protections, is valuable as well. Henson also brings rim protecting and top notch rebounding potential to the Suns and Knight can step in to Bledsoe’s role in the starting lineup beside Dragic.

Trade with Atlanta for Paul Millsap or Jeff Teague and Walter Tavares

Millsap and Teague

This is a complete guess out of left field as there have been no substantiated reports of the Hawks interest in Bledsoe, but it has been leaked that the Hawks are willing to move on from Teague. The Hawks are stacked with stretch four’s and five’s and could be willing to part with Millsap as he only has one year left on his two-year $20 million deal. Teague would be a great piece for the Suns, because he is good at getting in the paint and making plays which is what the Suns offense is centered around and Tavares is a very raw freak of nature at 7’3” with a 9’10” standing reach who could be an elite paint protector. I watched him in person in the Las Vegas Summer League and he has great mobility and footwork stepping out on the pick and roll and natural shot blocking instincts. Tavares as any rookie can’t be traded for at least 30 days after he signs a rookie contract though.

Trade with the Lakers for Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson

Julius Randle
Local Phoenix reporter Jon Bloom reported the Lakers were pushing for a sign-and-trade of Randle, Hill and a 1st round pick for Bledsoe which was categorically denied by everybody and wouldn’t even be possible until January or so as the Lakers just signed Jordan Hill and Randle can’t be traded for 30 days. This deal makes some sense as the Lakers have a logjam at power forward and want a long-term solution at point guard even know they just absorbed Jeremy Lin’s massive $15 million cap hit for this season. Randle doesn’t necessarily fit the Suns up-tempo style and could clog the paint and be a liability on defense. Regardless he has 20 and 10 potential and I was very impressed with Jordan Clarkson’s ability to get in the paint and make acrobatic finishes as a 6’4” point guard, he is suited for the Suns pick and roll attacking offense.

Trade with Sacramento for Nik Stauskas and Derrick Williams

Nik Stauskas

This is yet another trade that couldn’t happen for at least 30 days, but the Suns were drooling over Nik Stauskas (as were many other teams) for his Klay Thompsom-esque potential. The Kings clearly need a franchise point guard after letting Isaiah Thomas walk for basically nothing (??). They also have a logjam at power forward and maybe Phoenix could be the place where Derrick Williams could finally flourish as an athletic, small ball power forward after being the 2nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The Kings also reportedly wanted to give the Suns the 8th pick of the 2014 draft for Dragic and are interested in Bledsoe so this deal would almost essentially be the same thing.

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