In the days leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft, rumors started circulating that the Phoenix Suns might be interested in trading point guard Eric Bledsoe.
The main rumor, as it was, had the Suns sending Bledsoe and the 13th pick to the New York Knicks for the fourth overall selection.
That deal — or any, for that matter — is something Suns fans apparently wanted.
A guest of Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday morning, Suns GM Ryan McDonough said in terms of Bledsoe rumors, this time of year is ripe for “a whole lot of information” being out there.
“Eric Bledsoe is still a young player, in his mid-20s,” McDonough said. “He’s gotten better every year he’s been in the NBA.”
Last season was easily the best in the 25-year-old’s career. His second campaign in Phoenix, Bledsoe averaged 17 points, 6.1 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals while playing in 81 games, all of which he started.
The former L.A. Clipper was one of four players last season to average at least 17 points, six assists and five rebounds per game, joining LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and James Harden — all of whom were MVP candidates.
“And he’s one of the better perimeter defenders in the league,” McDonough said. “So it would take a whole lot for us to move Eric Bledsoe, and that’s something we haven’t even considered. It hasn’t been discussed.
“It’s just something we’re not looking to do, frankly.”
In Bledsoe, the Suns have a good player who they locked up on a five-year, $70 million contract last summer. While not an All-Star (yet), the guard has shown the kind of potential that makes teams salivate.
Will he ever be good enough to carry a team? Maybe, maybe not. But even that uncertainty combined with the team’s deadline day acquisition of point guard Brandon Knight may not be enough to make the team want to part with a player who just one year ago was looked at as a franchise building block.
“The frustration is, for me, as these rumors get out and if people come and ask me about them, I deny every single one, and if I don’t deny one everybody assumes it’s true,” McDonough said. “So that’s the frustration; we just don’t comment on it.
“But we weren’t close to trading Eric Bledsoe for anybody in this draft or any other player, we were not dangling him, and that’s one of the frustrating parts of my job and our jobs and the media today, but it is what it is and we move on. We’re very happy with Eric. We think he’s a terrific player and has terrific potential.”