Even though it was agreed upon last week, the trade that made Eric Bledsoe a member of the Phoenix Suns couldn’t be finalized until Wednesday due to the NBA’s moratorium on player movement.
Thursday, Bledsoe and fellow former Los Angeles Clipper Caron Butler were finally introduced to the Phoenix media.
The 6-foot-1 Bledsoe has played both guard positions during his career, which begs the question: What role will he fill with the Suns?
“A basketball player,” Bledsoe answered when asked about his position. “You put me at the five, you know I’m going to try and play the position the best way I can.”
That attitude must be music to the ears of Suns GM Ryan McDonough, who received vast praise for pulling off the trade that sent popular veteran Jared Dudley to L.A. and a second-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks.
“He’s a guy that every team in the league was trying to get and we’re thrilled to be able to get him here,” McDonough said. “We think with more minutes and more of an opportunity here, with the way (head coach Jeff Hornacek) wants to play, he’ll flourish in this environment.”
Bledsoe averaged just 20.4 minutes per game with the Clippers last season, putting up 8.5 points and 3.1 assists per contest. He spent much of the last two seasons backing up Chris Paul at the point guard position. The former Kentucky Wildcat is glad to be free of that playing time situation.
“It’s definitely a plus for me,” Bledsoe said. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t play as much as I wanted, because I was playing with an All-Star.”
Bledsoe is projected to start in the backcourt with incumbent point guard Goran Dragic next season, and McDonough doesn’t think having two natural leads guards playing together will be a problem.
“I think they’ll play together great,” he said. “One of the issues that I saw with the Suns last year was when Goran got doubled or teams took the ball out his hands, that the team struggled to make a play other than that.
“With Eric and Caron here, you’ve got to be careful with us now who you double, because these guys can make plays off the dribble and they can also knock down shots.”