The NBA never lacks for drama or memorable quotes, and Eric Bledsoe’s insistence that his tweet “I don’t wanna be here” refers to when he was in a hair salon is another chuckle-inducing moment – one with a good chance at entering meme memorialization. But of course, the larger signal is that the 27 year old guard is now a lock to leave the struggling Suns. The question is where?
Milwaukee and New York have been cited as frontline suitors by league sources. Such a move would make sense for the Bucks – Bledsoe would instantly be a fantastic second option alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as provide a massive upgrade on the perimeter defense. Something around John Henson, Rashad Vaughn, and a 1st round pick could get it done. Vaughn has considerable upside (I watched him extensively when he played for UNLV before he got hurt), and with the Suns rebuilding, gets the playing time he needs to develop. Some might argue Thon Maker as a possible piece for Phoenix, but that seems too rich a price for Bledsoe alone – a bigger deal is necessary.
As for the Knicks, under no circumstances should they be pursuing Bledsoe. Simply put, he doesn’t fit their window at all, even with the presence of Kristaps Porzingis. A certain NBA GM I’m not at liberty to name once told a group I was a part of that given the NBA’s structure, teams should be either be tanking or contending – that to settle into the middle tier of the league is to waste years and guarantee a lack of a title. But mediocrity is such a New York thing to do since the days of Patrick Ewing, shipping out some of their non-Porzingod assets for Bledsoe could very well happen.
Returning to the realm of sense, Denver is another logical destination – indeed, it’s perhaps the best situation for Bledsoe to land in. The Nuggets lack a true point guard of value due to prospect Emmanuel Mudiay’s failures at developing thus far, and an elite drive stopper on the perimeter will go a long way to alleviating the pressure on the Powder Blue and Gold’s big men, who are far more skilled on offense than defense. Essentially, Bledsoe checks off every single box of need Denver has in their starting lineup, and this is already a playoff worthy team in the West – and perhaps can enter contention in the next few years as Jamal Murray grows into his game. Mudiay and a 1st round pick would certainly be the starting point, and matching salaries could come via someone like Kenneth Faried – himself unhappy with his current situation. He’s 27 as well, so becomes another trade asset for the Suns to flip further on down the road.
I’ve been writing for this website for a few months now, and every so often the editorial staff reminds me that this is Dallas sports based, so please tie your NBA storylines into the Mavericks. All right, MFFLs, here’s your look at whether A) Bledsoe fills a need for the Mavericks, and B) Dallas has the pieces to get him.
I’ll start off by saying there’s been no chatter about Bledsoe to the Mavs – in addition to the teams profiled above, the Clippers, Pistons, and Spurs have all been mentioned as possibilities, but in my viewpoint, a trade seems unlikely to happen to those three teams for one reason or another.
At the time of this article, the Mavericks are 0-4. While it’s possible to come back from that, it’s not a good indicator of a team that should be making this move. They also have Yogi Ferrell, who is 24 and has value as a 3 point gunner, and Dennis Smith, Jr, who has off the charts hype factor due to exceptional skills for a 19 year old, at the guard spots. So point guard isn’t necessarily Dallas’ biggest need area.
“But wait!” cry the MFFLs. “Dirk!”
…Yes, 39 year old Dirk Nowitzki. A true legend, in the twilight of his career, playing for a team in transition to a rebuild. That heading for a rebuild alone signals that Dallas isn’t going to pursue Bledsoe, or at least they shouldn’t.
But let’s say, just for the sake of hypothetical argument, the Mavericks front office gets collectively high and weepy nostalgic during their buzz, and decides to go get the Suns’ point guard. What assets do they have for Phoenix? The going rate in the deals above is at least one young intriguing prospect + 1st round pick + not terrible salary matching contract. The first rounder is easy enough, but Dennis Smith Jr and Nerlens Noel are the only players with potential good enough for Phoenix. And Dallas won’t do that.
Instead, Bledsoe will book to Denver if logic wins. But chaos often reigns in the NBA.