Well, it finally happened.
The Phoenix Suns saga with Eric Bledsoe is finally over. Bledsoe was shipped to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Greg Monroe and conditional first and second-round picks. In a report filed per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, The possibility of a contract buyout could give the Suns freedom to be creative with an open roster spot. The Suns are looking to either sign standout Mike James into a regular roster spot or acquire Jahlil Okafor from the Philadelphia 76ers via trade.
The 27-year old Greg Monroe averaged a career-low seven points and five rebounds a game with the Bucks. Monroe was clearly not a fit as his career averages were closer to 15 points and nine rebounds in his five seasons with the Detroit Pistons.
For more information on the specific draft picks that are involved check out the article from Sports Illustrated here: http://on.si.com/2hUrcQn
But what’s next?
In 2011-12 starting his career on the Los Angeles Clippers, Bledsoe was getting over eight points, three rebounds and three assists per game with over 20 minutes a night off the bench. Many thought at the time that Bledsoe would blossom getting eventual starter minutes and a large contract with another team.
In 2013-14, The Suns signed Bledsoe to a five-year $70 million contract. Bledsoe went on to average career-highs in points (21.1); rebounds (4.8) and assists (6.3) just last season.
The issue? Bledsoe has missed significant time in Phoenix battling injury (he played in just 221 of 328 games in his four full seasons in the desert) and now lingering issues off-the-court have come to roost again. The Suns had just one productive season in Bledsoe’s tenure which no doubt conceded to his career-highs as the team recorded 48 wins, but the team failed to make the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference which many would consider a pass.
The Suns would go on to win just 23 and 24 games in his final two seasons in Arizona.
Who’s to blame? It’s easy to put all of the blame on Bledsoe in this situation with the Tweet, “I don’t want to be here.” In fact, Bledsoe was fined $10,000 for his gesture. Yes, it would have been smarter for him to keep the entire situation out of the limelight.
See some of Bledsoe’s comments on the trade per Uninterrupted here: http://on.nba.com/2jcmYXW
Let’s break this down a little more.
What was going on with the Suns firing former head coach Earl Watson as soon as the message was sent out? The coach has fired just two games into the season. If the organization was so unsure about Watson why even bring him back in the first place?
The drafting has also been subpar for the most part.
See our original story here: http://bit.ly/2hV3Eef
In the 2013 NBA Draft, the Suns selected Alex Len out of Ukraine with the fifth overall pick. The seven-foot-1-inch Len averages seven points and six rebounds a game. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert were still on the board as available big men and that hurts because both of them have been franchise players thus far.
The Suns did get one draft steal. In 2015, the Suns selected Devin Booker with the 13th pick and is easily the best player on the squad. At just 21-years old, Booker already dropped a 70-point game in a 130-120 loss to the Boston Celtics last season. It may be unfair to say, but the pressure is on the last two top-four picks in Dragan Bender (3.7 points, four rebounds and about an assist a game) and rookie Josh Jackson to carry the load for the squad. Phoenix has a lot of work left to do and getting something out of these top picks will go a long way from taking the respectability of the organization out of the toilet.
The Bucks (4-6) will move on with a starting five that features Malcolm Brogdon, Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker. Jabari Parker has not yet returned from substantial injury issues, but the team can still survive with key bench pieces in Tony Snell, Mirza Teletovic, and John Henson as they look to make the playoffs.
See the audio recap here: http://bit.ly/2AxyvoP
See the video recap here: http://bit.ly/2zuoL0G
Who do you think won the trade?