ESPN’s Pelton: Hypothetical Bledsoe trade could include a couple picks, prospects
Despite the fact that the NBA trade deadline passed over a month ago, trade rumors surrounding Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe are not going away.
With two highly regarded point guards at the top of the 2017 NBA Draft, ESPN analyst Kevin Pelton gave a favorable view of Bledsoe’s trade value. Pelton appeared on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns & Gambo to discuss many questions about the Suns, most notably Bledsoe’s value.
Pelton said a hypothetical trade involving Bledsoe would likely be for young players or picks, pieces that would not make the Suns better in the short-term.
“You are not trading him player for player at that point,” Pelton said. “You can expect probably a first round pick and a reasonable young prospect or maybe a couple first round picks. In addition to how well he played this season, just the fact that he stayed healthy is huge for his trade value. That’s always been the biggest question.”
Bledsoe, 27, averaged a career-high 21.1 points to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game for the Suns this season. After participating in 66 games, the Suns shut down Bledsoe for the season on March 16 in a “management decision.”
Beyond his strong season, Pelton focused on Bledsoe’s contract as something that boosts his value. Bledsoe has two seasons left on his current contract, paying him $14.5 million next season and $15 million the year after. With the salary cap projected to rise to $101 million, the deal looks favorable.
“If you are signing, say, Jrue Holiday, who is about the same age, in a similar tier, as a free agent you are paying him at least $20 million a year to get him away from New Orleans,” Pelton said.
Pelton went on to discuss the possibility of the Suns making a deal for a star player, such as Bulls guard Jimmy Butler or Pacers forward Paul George.
“I think if the Bulls decide to pull the trigger on Butler, the Pacers on Paul George, the Celtics will always have the trump card with those couple of players because of the fact that they have such value draft picks,” Pelton said. “Maybe a team like the Lakers because they feel confident re-signing them and will offer a little bit more.”
Pelton said while the top tier of guys is “tough to get”, the second tier is realistic for the Suns. Phoenix has its own draft picks going forward, in addition to two from Miami Heat. With Bledsoe, several other players and a pocket full of draft picks on hand after another disappointing season, the Suns are a team to keep an eye on this offseason.