The “will they or won’t they” buzz surrounding the Phoenix Suns and trading point guard Eric Bledsoe has heightened since the 27-year-old’s stellar January.
Bledsoe averaged 24.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game in the month, the best stretch of his career in the Valley.
How Bledsoe fits with the current young core of the Suns has been a debated topic throughout the season, and the question of if Bledsoe is untouchable came up in trade talks between ESPN insiders.
Amin Elhassan and Kevin Pelton were asked and they had differing opinions.
Elhassan: For the time being, yes. Without a concrete succession plan at point guard, it makes little sense to abandon a player in his prime having a career year while on an affordable deal. If I’m the Suns, I wait until draft night or free agency to figure out who the heir apparent will be before trying to move Bledsoe.
Pelton: No. Again, I’m philosophically opposed to the idea of making almost any player untouchable. In this case, it seems particularly shortsighted given Bledsoe’s history of knee injuries and the fact that he’s playing the best basketball of his career. Phoenix might regret not considering selling high on Bledsoe if he’s unable to continue at this level due to injury or regression to the mean.
Elhassan’s point suggests the Suns should see how the 2017 NBA Draft and free agency will play out before moving on from Bledsoe. The draft has several point guard prospects ranked in the top-10, including Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball.
As for the potential free agency class, there are no “point guards of the future” the Suns could target unless you believe Stephen Curry would leave Golden State for Phoenix. Veterans like Kyle Lowry and George Hill are highlights of the list.
As both note, Bledsoe’s history of injuries is a factor when it comes to his trade value. He’s had three knee surgeries, two of them taking place during his time with the Suns.
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