After weeks of drama and speculation, Eric Bledsoe has finally been traded. Reports broke early Tuesday morning that the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks were in the process of agreeing to a deal and moments later the final details emerged. Bledsoe had been dealt to Milwaukee for Greg Monroe along with a first-round pick. The trade itself does not comes as a huge surprise.
Milwaukee had been one of the hottest rumored destination for a while. Many may be surprised by the lack of assets the Suns acquired but with every passing day Eric Bledsoe did not play, his value decreased. Now we are left to analyze a few early winners and losers of this deal.
Winner: Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee played the wait and see a game on this one and it worked out. Just two weeks ago when Milwaukee became one of the rumored destinations for Bledsoe, it was reported that Phoenix wanted 2016 Rookie of The Year; Malcolm Brogdon as part of a potential trade. Instead of chomping at the bit, Milwaukee stood pat and waited as Bledsoe’s trade value continued to decrease.
Greg Monroe was also another player rumored to be on the trading block throughout the summer which, means that the Bucks were likely happy to get his big cap hit off the books. Giving up a first-rounder which, will is likely to be very low in the round, should and will not hurt the Bucks in the long run. Rather than have a young player potentially be stuck in Milwaukee’s system, the team decided to add a big piece to its win now mentality. Overall, this was a very good deal for the Bucks.
Loser: Phoenix Suns and the power of leverage
At first glance this deal does not look great for the Suns but, we are willing to give this one a chance. Greg Monroe is a premier big man in the league and although the Sun's rotation is now loaded with centers as well as, power forwards there is a chance for Monroe to impress.
With every passing game that Bledsoe did not play in, Suns management knew that his trade value was decreasing. Sure there is the fact that Eric Bledsoe is one of the NBA’s best point guards however, how could the Suns turn this situation into one where they make a blockbuster deal? They simply could not. Maybe if Bledsoe did not tweet out his opinion and maybe played in a few more games, things would be different.
Simply put, the Phoenix Suns had no leverage in this scenario. It is very hard for league executives to make blockbuster deals that hinge solely on potential alone. Adding a first-round pick will give Phoenix a chance to add another young player to its ongoing rebuild.
Winner: Thon Maker
Thon Maker might be the biggest winner of this trade that nobody is talking about. With Greg Monroe off to Phoenix, expect Maker to get a lot more playing time. After proving during his rookie year that he could be a reliable scoring as well as, rebounding option, this trade signifies that Thon Maker is now the new big-man-in-charge for the Milwaukee Bucks. Maker is coming off of an impressive rookie season and has already began to build off of the small sample size he showed the NBA world just one year ago.
Also, with Maker and John Henson now Milwaukee’s only centers, it is very possible that we see Giannis Antetokounmpo play at the center position as well. In addition to receiving more minutes, Eric Bledsoe’s superb passing should do wonders for Makers beloved corner three-point shot.
Loser: Phoenix Suns point guard carousel
Remember back in 2015 when the Phoenix Suns decided they were going to load up at the point guard position? This experiment seems to have failed. First, the Suns traded Isaiah Thomas to Boston (we all know how that ended up) then, the Suns acquired Brandon Knight and lastly, the team drafted Tyler Ulis all while Eric Bledsoe was still on the roster.
Many would argue that the Suns’ obsession with finding a new franchise point guard came when the team traded Goran Dragic in 2014. Flash Forward to 2017 and Brandon Knight is currently out with a torn ACL, Bledsoe is now traded and, Isaiah Thomas is a perennial MVP candidate. Tyler Ulis remains the only member of a Suns team that has been searching for its next franchise point guard ever since the days of Steve Nash as well as, Goran Dragic. It looks like the search will continue into 2018.
Winner: Eric Bledsoe
Alas, Eric Bledsoe has received his wish. What might be even better for him is that he is now going to one of the NBA’s best and most exciting young teams. It is very understandable to see why Bledsoe would want out of Phoenix. In his four full seasons in Phoenix, not only did the Suns never make the Playoffs but as previously noted, the team kept bringing in more and more point guards.
Playing for a losing team is never fun and when you continue to go nowhere but down for four years, the frustration is bound to set in. Yes, Bledsoe probably could have handled the situation better but, at the end of the day, not only did Bledsoe get what he wanted but, he also is now on a championship contender. Talk about going from the bottom to the top. With his new tenure about to begin, there is no doubt that Eric Bledsoe’s competitive fire has been re-lit. Maybe, just maybe we will see Bledsoe return to his averages of just over 20 points per game. Lastly, now that he is in an Eastern Conference that is lacking stars, Eric Bledsoe may have the chance to finally become an NBA All-Star.