ESPN’s Chad Ford and SLAM Magazine both reported this week that the Phoenix Suns may be looking to unload point guard Eric Bledsoe, and the New York Knicks are a possible suitor.
While for now this is just speculation, it would make sense for both teams. The Suns are potentially looking to unload Bledsoe’s contract to pave way for Brandon Knight to start at point guard, and also want to move up in the draft. The Knicks need a young point guard for the future, and may look to trade down in the draft.
The Phoenix Suns have just missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons now ever since losing superstar big man Amar’e Stoudemire to the Knicks in free agency. They began to shake things up at the deadline, trading away Slovenian point guard Goran Dragic to the Miami Heat, and acquiring Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Knight.
The acquisition of Knight may have been the moment that the Suns decided they were going to at least consider a trade of Bledsoe, as they both play the same position. Knight is two years younger, and could be cheaper than Bledsoe as well.
Bledsoe is due $57 million over the next four seasons, but he may be a worth it. The Knicks would still have about $15 million remaining to add another few players from free agency.
The 25 year old guard averaged 17 points per game last season, to go along with 6.1 APG and 5.2 RPG. He’s a polished offensive player who can drive to the rim, or pull up for a mid range jumper. He isn’t a very good three point shooter, shooting just 32.4% last season. His FG% was quite good though, finishing with a mark of 44.7%. He’s an excellent rebounder for a point guard also, and is excellent at getting his teammates the ball for a good opportunity to score.
Bledsoe also thrives on defense. He’s one of the best man to man defenders in the league, and finished with 1.6 SPG last season.
One of the concerns with Bledsoe is his health. He missed 39 games in 2013-14, and 26 in 2011-12. He was healthy for last season, missing just a single game, but for a player making as much money as him it is something to look at.
The reported deal would involve Bledsoe and the #13 pick in exchange for the #4 pick, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jose Calderon, and either another young asset such as Quincy Acy or Cleanthony Early, or a future second round draft selection.
The Suns could potentially go through with that, but the Knicks simply do not have many good young assets. Due to this, the Suns could trade Bledsoe to a different lottery team ahead of them, gaining a slightly lower pick but also a better package overall. It all depends on the market for Bledsoe, which is currently unknown.
The Knicks have expressed an interest in trading down as well. They’re reportedly high on Jahlil Okafor, Karl Anthony-Towns, and D’Angelo Russell. If those three are taken 1-2-3, they will surely look to trade down according to reports. They’re also high on players such as Willie Cauley-Stein, Frank Kaminsky, Cameron Payne, and Trey Lyles, and at least one of those players should be available at the Suns #13 pick.