Eric Bledsoe among the NBA’s most wanted summer trade targets

May 25, 2017, 12:13 PM

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) drives on New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday in the third ...

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) drives on New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday in the third quarter during an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Phoenix. New Orleans defeated the Phoenix 110-108. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

After having the best season of his career last year, Eric Bledsoe sits as a coveted trade target for many teams this offseason.

In his third year as part of a five-year $70-million contract he signed in 2014, Bledsoe set career highs in points (21.1 ppg) and assists (6.3 apg) last season before the Suns shut him down on March 12.

Even though he’s not a free agent, Matt Moore of CBS Sports puts Bledsoe at No. 16 in his Top 30 summer targets via trade, free agency or the NBA Draft.

This ranking comes down to injuries. Bledsoe is only 27, in his prime with terrific athleticism, playmaking and shooting ability. But injuries have crushed him time and time again, to the point it’s hard to believe he’ll be healthy. He also hasn’t been able to lead the Suns to a plus-.500 record, despite having some talent around him through the years, young as it may have been.

But Bledsoe can help a team win. If he stays healthy and hits his peak, look out. The Suns may not make him available because their draft position doesn’t allow them to target a certifiable upgrade.

Knee injuries have plagued Bledsoe throughout his career, having surgery to repair his torn right meniscus in 2011 with the Clippers, and having another surgery on the same knee in 2014 with the Suns leading to the removal of his right meniscus.

In 2015, Bledsoe required another knee surgery that cut his season short, this time to repair a torn left meniscus.

Even when Bledsoe is producing on the court as he did last season, his injury history has made him the subject of some trade rumors.

With an injury free 2016-17, many believed the Suns would sell high on Bledsoe, especially with a top draft pick and the great play of rookie Tyler Ulis in his absence.

The Suns didn’t move him at the trade deadline and at 27, Bledsoe is a veteran on a young team, contributing to the success of Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss while showing his leadership in crunch time.

With the fourth pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, the Suns will most likely be out of contention for top point guards Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, but they still could be in line to draft a point guard in Dennis Smith Jr. or De’Aaron Fox.

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