Arizona Sports roundtable: How does the draft affect Bledsoe’s future?
In the first of a four-part roundtable with the hosts, reporters and Empire of the Suns bloggers at 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station, we ask if Eric Bledsoe’s future should be affected by the Phoenix Suns’ draft.
Should the team trade Eric Bledsoe this offseason?
Kellan Olson: Unless they get incredibly lucky with Ball slipping to four, they should not. That’s tough because at 27 years old and with two years left on an affordable deal, Bledsoe’s trade value will never be higher in his career. Even with his value, they should just keep their best overall player and get better as a team in the last two years of his contract. If they trade him they are nearly guaranteeing they will win less than 30 games next season, and there’s a chance they could the season after that, too. By keeping Bledsoe, that should have the team going in the right direction toward contending for a playoff spot in 2019 led by a core of Booker, Chriss, Bender and their next two first-round picks, with all of them being under the age of 24 while they do so.
Doug Franz: Yes.
Jon Bloom: No. I’d like to see Bledsoe & Booker get another season as the lead back court for this team with Ulis, Barbosa, Eli Millsap & a shooting guard (to be named later) backing them up. That said, if the Suns end up taking Ball or Fox on Thursday night, I’d be surprised if they don’t capitalize on Bled’s current value.
Kevin Zimmerman: Absolutely not if the Suns draft a wing. I’m not even convinced Ball or Fox would even be ready to start immediately if Phoenix drafted them, so my answer is: “Don’t trade Bledsoe just yet.” If it comes to missing the playoffs, the Suns can reassess Bledsoe’s future at the trade deadline or even next offseason, but his job as a starter and even his minutes won’t be threatened by anyone in this draft not named Markelle Fultz.
John Gambadoro: Not if they take Jackson. But if they take Ball then they have no choice but to move Bledsoe. They don’t want another Dragic-IT-Bledsoe situation.
Vince Marotta: If Fox is the guy at No. 4, then yes. As good as Bledsoe was last year before he was shut down, I don’t think his stock is going to get higher. And seeing as how the Warriors will own the Western Conference for the next 4-5 years, there’s really no pressure for the Suns to compete right away. Might as well get younger, grab more assets and get ready for the next era of Western Conference basketball.
Craig Grialou: Personally, no, but for the good of the team, yes. And if we’re honest with ourselves, the Suns are three or four years away from really being solid championship contenders, which is beyond Bledsoe’s current contract. Plus, his trade value may never be higher coming off a career-year running the offense.
Dave Burns: Only if they draft a point guard. It does make sense though. The West can’t be won for a few more years with the Warriors reign, and I don’t think Bledsoe will be on that Suns team.
Adam Green: If Lonzo Ball falls to them at No. 4, or they spend their top pick on a guy like Fox or Smith, yes – they’ll have to. Otherwise, I don’t see any reason to trade him this offseason. He’s an All-Star caliber point guard who has value, but the Suns don’t really have a viable replacement on the roster and dealing Bledsoe would all but guarantee another top-five draft pick next year.