One of the NBA's most drawn out sagas is finally over as the Phoenix Suns sent Eric Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks in return for Greg Monroe, a 2018 protected first round draft pick and a 2018 protected second round pick earlier this week.
On paper this move seems an odd one from a Suns' standpoint, so let's break it all down.
You can't keep unhappy players
Eric Bledsoe wanted out - and that's exactly what he got. The 27-year-old point guard dug his own grave after his infamous "I don't want to be here" tweet went viral.
Bledsoe spent four full seasons in Phoenix, recording career highs in points per game (21.1) and assists (6.3) last season before being rested for the final stretch of the season as his team tanked for a higher draft pick.
According to reports, Bledsoe requested a trade during the offseason but was knocked back; he didn't want to be there anymore. To be honest, can you blame him?
Constant roster changes and coach instability took its toll on Bledsoe, who wants to play for a winner, having not tasted playoff action during his time in the valley.
In the opening month of the season, the Suns have fired their coach, hired a new one and traded away their starting point guard. Need I say anymore?
Phoenix are a team in the midst of a youth rebuild, spearheaded by Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. The team has collected young assets and is building towards a strong future, highlighted by their 'timeline' approach to this season.
Bringing in a 27-year-old Monroe doesn't seem to fit this bill, however. The reality of this trade is that Phoenix said yes because of the draft picks - something they hold in high regard.
The likelihood is that Monroe will be bought out of his contract ($17.1 million) or used as a trade chip to gain a younger player, with Jahil Okafor one whose name has popped up at every mention of a trade.
The draft picks in this deal are interesting because they are both protected. Here's a summary of how the picks work:
- If the 2018 first-round pick lands between spots 11-16, it goes to Phoenix.
- If the 2018 first-round pick falls outside of those brackets, Phoenix will get a pick between 4-16 in 2019.
- If the 2018 first-round pick falls outside those brackets again, Phoenix get a pick between 8-30 in 2020.
- In 2021 the pick becomes unprotected.
- The Suns get the 2018 second-round pick if it falls between 48-60, otherwise it remains with Milwaukee.
The Suns then are unlikely to get the lottery pick they set out to gain, and instead will have to settle for a mid first-rounder in return.
Eric Bledsoe needed a change of scenery, and that's exactly what he got.
He is now on a contending team and is potentially the missing piece to the Bucks' puzzle. Alongside the Greek Freek Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bledsoe will slot nicely into this Milwaukee offense, but it remains to see what this trade means for starting point guard Malcolm Brogdon.
As for the Suns, they got their draft picks. How valuable those picks are waits to be seen. But all Ryan McDonough and the rest of the Phoenix staff will focus on is that they got rid of a player who didn't want to be part of their team.
Thoughts on the trade? Discuss in the comments below!