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ESPN’s Windhorst: Now is time for Suns to examine trading Eric Bledsoe

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, left, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

LISTEN: Brian Windhorst, ESPN NBA reporter

Eric Bledsoe just might be having the best season of his six-year NBA career.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says the Phoenix Suns just might want to think about trading him.

The context surrounding the first sentence goes much deeper to lead us to the second sentence. When considering Bledsoe’s age compared to backcourt mate Devin Booker, the Suns’ current situation and the NBA trade market where big men are traded freely while available high-level guards remain elusive, Windhorst’s opinion makes sense.

The pre-deadline trade season has already included three recent trades including six centers, and Windhorst said the lack of available guards is one reason for the Suns to determine Bledsoe’s value.

“So if I was the Suns — and I have no information on how they’re doing —  I would seriously say, can we beat the market if we move Bledsoe now and put ourselves in position to add some nice pieces and build around Devin Booker?” Windhorst told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “Because (Bledsoe is) having the best year of his career. I haven’t heard that they’re wanting to do that. It’s certainly something that if you’re looking for a market play, it’s something that you’d have to examine.”

Windhorst’s ESPN colleague, Zach Lowe, wrote on the complications of Bledsoe’s value earlier this year.

While he’s averaging 21.2 points, 6.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game and his improving growth in the lead guard role are all positive signs for the 27-year-old, his three-point shooting and defense have dropped off considerably after taking on a bigger offensive role. There’s also the worry about his longevity after his three knee surgeries.

Lowe summed up many of Bledsoe’s positives and negatives, and the inherent trade value, within a few sentences in his in-depth feature on the point guard.

Sloughing some of the creative load off onto Booker should eventually allow Bledsoe to play entire games with peak ferocity on defense. He should be the best point guard defender in the league, but he isn’t. That has made him a strangely polarizing player among rival executives, including some with teams who would make good Bledsoe trade fits.

A Bledsoe who pounds the ball and takes possessions off on defense is of limited interest. A Bledsoe who thrives as the second- or third-best player in a motion-style offense and smothers opposing point guards — that’s the guy people want to see.

Trade rumors involving Bledsoe have been non-existent to this point.

As discussed here on the Empire of the Suns podcast (20-minute mark), Phoenix finding a team that could use Bledsoe for a playoff push this year won’t be easy. Neither is determining what teams what trade for Bledsoe, or if they would take a risk on a player who to this point in his career hasn’t held a starting role as a second or third offensive option on a winning team.

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