The Suns Are Moving On
Yesterday in this space we got into the brewing situation in Phoenix, including the situation surrounding both Earl Watson (the recently fired coach of the Suns) and disgruntled guard Eric Bledsoe.
A lot has happened in the last 24 hours, so let’s dig into it:
Suns Are Finished With Bledsoe
Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough told reporters yesterday that he had met with Bledsoe after hearing about his “I don’t wanna be here” tweet. He explained Bledsoe told him and his staff he was at a hair salon and that the tweet in question had nothing to do with the Suns or their decision to fire Watson. McDonough said, “I don’t believe that to be true.”
According to sources near the situation Bledsoe and his agent, Rich Paul met with the Suns this summer and asked for a trade, citing a desire to get into a winning situation. The Suns started to explore options but did not find anything worth doing at the time.
The Suns have ramped up discussions this week regarding Bledsoe and may be closing in on something they would agree to do.
As of last night, the two teams that seem to be pursuing Bledsoe the most aggressively appear to be the Denver Nuggets and the Milwaukee Bucks. A Nuggets deal appears to be built around guard Emmanuel Mudiay and disgruntled forward Kenneth Faried. A Bucks deal seems to be centered on reserve big man Greg Monroe, who has just this season remaining on his deal.
League sources cautioned that things were still evolving and that a number of scenarios were making their way around.
T.J. McBride, who covers the Nuggets, tweeted that Bledsoe’s agent was in Denver last (he also represents John Wall who was playing) and was seen talking with Nuggets GM Tim Connelly.
It’s Not Just Bledsoe
The Suns seem to be looking at deals to off-load center Tyson Chandler as well. Both Chandler and Bledsoe were favorites of Watson, at the expense of some of the Suns younger players.
Chandler played 31 minutes last night in the Suns first win of the season notching nine points and 14 rebounds.
Chandler has $13 million due him this season and $13.585 million due next season.
The ideal scenario for the Suns is to move both of them in the same deal, and it seems the Suns are at least exploring that idea.
Lots of Old Ideas Out There
As with any trade situation, league sources warned yesterday that some of the teams linked to the Suns were not new conversations and some of those conversations were started and fueled by the Suns.
The Suns apparently did reach out to the Knicks trying to offer Bledsoe in a package for rookie Frank Ntilikina and sophomore Willie Hernangómez; the Knicks did not take the conversation very far.
The LA Clippers according to sources kicked the tires on a Bledsoe trade this summer but found their roster lacked anything the Suns would seriously consider.
The Suns and Cavaliers held talks centered around Bledsoe several times this summer, but ultimately could not close a deal. The Cavs ended up trading Kyrie Irving to Boston and talks died off. A Cavs deal was centered around guard Iman Shumpert, but ultimately his Player Option killed momentum. A deal involving Shumpert and, say, rookie Ante Zizic works under the cap, but would have the Cavaliers taking on cap dollars which would be aggressively taxed. The Cavs are a favorite destination in speculation circles because of Bledsoe’s connection to LeBron James.
The big hurdle for the Suns in finding a trade at this point in the season is that all of the players signed to free agent deals this summer are trade restricted, making the pool of possible trade chips much smaller.
The Suns seem to be motivated to make a deal but are prepared to leave Bledsoe at home and away from the team until they find a trade they are willing to do.
The Basketball Insiders Podcast
Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk at NBC Sports joined Basketball Insiders’ publisher Steve Kyler to talk about the first week of the NBA season, the firing of Earl Watson in Phoenix, where the Suns should and could trade Eric Bledsoe, early surprises, scandal in college basketball and more.
The Basketball Insiders podcast drops weekly and features a rotating cast of Insiders writers and personalities. You can subscribe to the Podcast on all of your favorite Podcast apps or by going to iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/insiders-sports-podcast/id1002925891?mt=2), TuneIn (https://tunein.com/radio/Insiders-Sports-Podcast-p738080/) or Google Play Music (https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iy4bk4nw6vdh3hgp2tkjlmdewb4)
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