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5 Eric Bledsoe trade scenarios that make sense

Eric Bledsoe and the Suns are parting ways. Where will he land?

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After yesterday’s Twitter fiasco and Earl Watson’s firing as the Suns head coach, Eric Bledsoe is on his way out the door.

Bledsoe tweeted “I Don’t want to be here” on Sunday evening before Watson was fired. Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said he discussed the tweet with Bledsoe and was told he was “at a hair salon.” McDonough, however, wasn’t biting.

They sent Bledsoe home after a meeting with the team on Monday with intentions to trade him, according to a report from ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

Measuring Bledsoe’s value is a bit difficult because of the mess his tweet brought to the table, but Evan Sidery from Bright Side of the Sun thinks it shouldn’t hamper things too much.

“With Bledsoe tweeting that out yesterday, I think that mildly hurts his trade value but not much. Teams like New York, Milwaukee, and Denver should be clamoring to acquire a guard like Bledsoe, and it might take a little less now. Unless they want to just dump him, which I don't see because he's a top 15 point guard when fully committed, Phoenix should get good value for the situation they are currently in.”

Where could Bledsoe end up? Here are five destinations that make sense.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks are one of the teams that have already been reported as having interest in Bledsoe. Malcolm Brogdon is a good player, but the Bucks are lacking depth at their point guard position.

Bledsoe is a starting-caliber point guard who can play on or off the ball for the Bucks. He’s not a great shooter, but is an elite defender when his offensive role isn’t too large. With Giannis Antetokounmpo already holding the reins of the offense, that offensive role won’t be.

Does the trade work?

The Bucks have a few promising young prospects on their roster they could send back to the Suns if they wanted to work through a trade. Brogdon, Rashad Vaughn, Sterling Brown, and Thon Maker can all serve as attractive young pieces in a deal. They’ve also got solid rotation players on short-term deals with cap space dwindling over the next few seasons.

The Bucks could throw together a package featuring Brogdon, Monroe and a first-round pick that would be more than enough to get the job done. That will probably be where the Suns’ asking price starts.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets certainly had interest in Bledsoe on draft night. That could be rekindled here now that the Suns are ready to part ways with him.

The Nuggets’ offense is elite, but their defense still needs to be bolstered. Bledsoe would immediately supply Denver with a guard who’s actually able to defend his own position as well as players slightly bigger than him. That’d be a nice fit in a backcourt with Jamal Murray.

Bledsoe is an excellent fit offensively, as well. The load on Bledsoe wouldn’t be overbearing with Nikola Jokic running the offense, so Bledsoe could slot around Jokic as a slasher. If needed, he can also run point when Jokic is off the floor.

Does the trade work?

The Nuggets have more than enough assets in the cupboard to ship the Suns way. Emmanuel Mudiay, Malik Beasley, Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez, and Trey Lyles are all attractive prospects with a bit of experience to boot. Plus, they carry their own first-round pick. They’d fit right in with #TheTimeline.

The Nuggets would have to throw in a big contract like Kenneth Faried’s to match Bledsoe’s salary, but Faried isn’t a player the Suns would want back. Someone like Darrell Arthur, Mudiay, and either Beasley or a first-round pick would do the trick.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers are sorely lacking depth at point guard with Isaiah Thomas on the mend. Derrick Rose has been OK in his role, but leaves much to be desired defensively. Jose Calderon hasn’t been good in years.

Bledsoe’s presence would be an immediate upgrade for the Cavs until Thomas returns ... if he returns.

Does the trade work?

Suddenly the Cavs are an option via trade with a few assets to dish out. They’ve got the 2018 Nets Pick, their own first-round pick, and Ante Zizic all acquired from the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas swap. Plus, they’ve got Cedi Osman, who is a young, athletic swingman with plenty of room to grow in the league. And they’ve got Jae Crowder and the remaining three years of his deal for $21 million.

The Cavs won’t be looking to give up Crowder — he’s already a key cog in their rotation. But they’d be more than willing to move off their own first-round pick again. They’d part ways with Shumpert, throw Zizic into the deal along with the pick and get Bledsoe in return.

The Cavs can finally move off Shumpert, which they’ve been trying to do over the last year and a half, plus they get a valuable starting point guard they’ve been coveting since Kyrie Irving decided he wanted out of Cleveland. It was close to happening before, but now we may see it anyway.

Los Angeles Clippers

It’s hard to imagine Austin Rivers being traded from the Clippers when his father remains the head coach. But if Doc Rivers is ever willing to part ways with his son, the time is now. Bledsoe has a rapport with the Clippers’ frontcourt already from their previous time spent playing together in 2013.

Milos Teodosic is out indefinitely with a foot injury, leaving the Clippers spread thin at point guard. Bledsoe would certainly fill a need.

Does the trade work?

The Clippers have the assets to make things work. They’ve got young players in place and courtesy of the Chris Paul Trade. Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Bryce Johnson, and Sindarius Thornwell are all intriguing prospects in Los Angeles the Clippers could use to make the deal work.

To facilitate the money, they’d need a bigger contract like Lou Williams or Austin Rivers to get involved. Williams has been a key component in their rotation this season, so it’s unlikely that we see him moved this early. But Rivers has been unproductive and should be the odd man out — if his father is willing to move him.

The combination of Rivers and Dekker should be enough to get Bledsoe back to L.A. for his second stint.

New York Knicks

This isn’t necessarily a move the rebuilding Knicks should want to make, but they’ve been reported as having interest in Bledsoe already. The Knicks aren’t really in a position to compete this season, but they have their franchise centerpiece in Kristaps Porzingis and may want to push his development ahead a bit.

Does the trade work?

The Knicks have a few promising young pieces on their roster plus their own 2018 first-round draft pick. Frank Ntilikina, Willy Hernangomez, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas are all young players with the potential to develop into key rotational pieces. The Suns are especially looking for help at point guard.

If the Knicks want to make a move for Bledsoe, it could work. They’d be able to move up from under Joakim Noah’s 4-year, $72 million contract and could include their pick along with Ntilikina or Hernangomez for Bledsoe.

Though Bledsoe doesn’t fit on the exact timeline of the Knicks, it helps to have talent surrounding your best players. If they believe he’s the right fit, they can make it happen.

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