Eric Bledsoe began this season a problem: He was on the going-nowhere Phoenix Suns and he didn’t want to be anymore. Bledsoe had reportedly requested a trade during the preseason, but the Suns apparently didn’t make any serious effort to deal him then. Instead, Bledsoe had to take matters into his own hands.
He did just that! On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Bucks traded for Bledsoe, and the Bucks are a playoff team with a possible MVP (Giannis Antetokounmpo) on their roster. They might even nab home-court advantage in a weak Eastern Conference. Clearly, Bledsoe gamed the system — but how?
There used to be a clear method for doing this, one most famously used by Shaquille O’Neal. You’d find your favorite reporter, tell him you wanted to be traded, and wait as every newspaper in town circulates the request. But why bother with a middleman anymore? Why bother even formally asking for a trade? Here’s Bledsoe’s method of tweeting his way to a new team, one that has never been better suited for the world we live in.
STEP ONE: Start cryptically
Bledsoe is quoting this tweet.
Eric Bledsoe has been listed as questionable for tonight's game with right ankle sprain.— scott bordow (@sbordow) October 20, 2017
Whatever implication Bledsoe’s making isn’t quite clear. He played in that game despite being listed as questionable, and one more after that. Is he saying “ha” because he doesn’t want to be playing? Or is the “questionable” injury status cover for something else?
We don’t know, and in an era where subtweets reign supreme, that uncertainty is crucial.
STEP TWO: Be more clear
I Dont wanna be here— Eric Bledsoe (@EBled2) October 22, 2017
Eric Bledsoe Dont wanna be here. Is that clear enough for you now?
The beauty is that Bledsoe can still say it means something else even when it obviously doesn’t. He ended up saying he was with his wife at a hair salon. I like to imagine that he was actually at a hair salon, and sent the tweet with a double meaning. That would be wonderful.
The Suns responded by telling Bledsoe to not report to the team, and agreeing to actively attempt to trade him.
STEP THREE: Appreciate what you’ve done
Good morning— Eric Bledsoe (@EBled2) October 23, 2017
It’s a good morning for Bledsoe because now he doesn’t have to play bad, losing basketball in Phoenix — a team that lost by 40-plus points twice in their first three games — and will soon be moving on. And the only teams that would be interested in trading for a 28-year-old veteran like Bledsoe would be playoff teams!
It’s a great morning, even.
STEP FOUR: Time to be cryptic again
Wow— Eric Bledsoe (@EBled2) October 24, 2017
Was this in response to Suns head coach Earl Watson getting fired? Or the team winning their first game of the season one day later under an interim head coach? Or something the front office told him about his trade offers? Or maybe he was still trapped at the hair salon, and the barber had just spun the chair around to show him his new fade. Wow can mean literally anything. Maybe Bledsoe just learned that bees are dying at an alarming rate! That’s the beauty of wow.
This actually works
This is mostly a joke, and an appreciation of Bledsoe’s tweets, which kept us entertained for a couple days before the NBA news cycle moved on. And obviously, NBA players will generally request trades through the front office, like Kyrie Irving did, not tweet about it then claim innocence on Twitter. But if you want a trade, and your front office isn’t listening to you, NBA players have a larger voice than ever before to demand things like that. Who had ever even thought about Bledsoe’s Twitter before this? And now it turned into national news.
Congratulations are in order to Bledsoe, who orchestrated this perfectly and now gets to play with the most incredible athlete in the league, Giannis Antetokounmpo.