What was once just Chad Ford wondering out loud is now a widely circulated rumor, and it just might have legs. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News reported today that the Phoenix Suns are indeed shopping Eric Bledsoe, specifically (but not limited) to the New York Knicks to facilitate a #13 for #4 swap in Thursday's draft.
The Suns had talks with the Knicks about dealing the fourth pick for point guard Eric Bledsoe and the No. 13 pick, but Phoenix has not been limited to the Knicks in that regard. The Suns have been dangling Bledsoe in trade offers this offseason and are likely to continue to do so after the draft if Bledsoe is not moved this week, sources confirmed.
The Knicks only have $34.9 million on the books for the 2015/16 season, meaning that the Suns wouldn't have to take back any salary in the deal. So aside from netting the Suns the fourth pick and enabling them to choose from the likes of Mario Hezonja, Justise Winslow and Kristaps Porzingis, they will also have an additional $13 million in cap space upon Bledsoe's departure.
According to the article, the Knicks are quite enamored with Frank Kaminsky -- apparently even to the point of drafting him fourth overall -- so a trade-down makes sense for them in that case. However, if this is about acquiring Kaminsky they might not feel safe at the 13th pick, a spot where he easily could already be off the board, so there's probably a bit more to the equation than just a 4 for 13 swap.
Bledsoe had a breakout year in 2013/14, but his numbers either plateaued or tailed off in most categories during the following season and the Suns' front office might be leaning more towards recently-acquired Brandon Knight, who is younger, likely cheaper, and has some leadership qualities that Bledsoe lacks.
If the Suns are indeed not married to the idea of pairing Bledsoe and Knight, or the "dual PG" system altogether, the 4th pick in the draft should hypothetically give them a solid building block with which to move forward. It also affords them significantly more flexibility in the open market to swing a bit more freely.
Even if Bledsoe is still a Sun after the draft, expect many more rumors to come down the pike as long as the Suns are still a few stones shy of being a contender.