Eric Bledsoe is the perfect bargaining chip. He’s an athletic, talented, young scorer. Most importantly, he’s all that and underpaid. The Phoenix Suns are reportedly shopping him around. According to the NBA Bulletin, the Suns are in talks with the Lakers and the Pistons.
We finally get some news on Eric Bledsoe. The Suns are reportedly trying to trade him. Possible destinations are the Pistons and Lakers.
— NBA Bulletin (@TheNBABulletin) August 20, 2014
Discontent grew after contract extension negotiations between Bledsoe and the Suns went sour. The two sides were struggling to find an agreement. Reportedly, they haven’t spoken in four months.
Sources: Suns offered Eric Bledsoe 4-year, $48 million contract. Bledsoe wants max of 5 years, $80 million. Sides far apart
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 17, 2014
Bledsoe is scheduled to make over $3.7 million in 2014-15, the final year of his contract.
In his first year with the Suns, Bledsoe doubled his previous year’s points per game, jumping from 8.5 to 17.7. He went from playing 20.4 minutes per game to 32.9. He improved in rebounds, steals and assists per game. But the Suns are lucky. The sample size is too small. They don’t have to pay Bledsoe the max contract until he’s proved he can be an elite player for consecutive seasons. And frankly, it’s very debatable that’s he’s proven he is elite.
While it’s tough to part with a player poised to hit his prime, it’s also the perfect time to get rid of him. He hasn’t yet established his elite status, but it appears he is about to. He’s shown his potential and sold his stock to potential trade partners. This is the last year he’ll be underpaid, so it’s the perfect time to get rid of him. Everything is in place for him to move on the Suns end — it’s just they’re waiting on the market.
The Lakers have little to offer the Suns in return. Unless they suddenly offered Julius Randle — which would be uncharacteristic of what they’ve said about developing the former Kentucky standout — the best deal would include Steve Nash, draft picks and, perhaps, cash.
The Pistons could do a wild-and-crazy move. They could swap Greg Monroe for Bledsoe. At first it seems a bit too brash, but both teams are in tough trading situations with burgeoning stars. Instead of struggling to make deals elsewhere, they could swap problematic players. It’s so silly and simple a plan that it just might work.