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A first look at the reported Eric Bledsoe trade

Phoenix will receive Greg Monroe and two Milwaukee picks.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The outcome has been expected for over a year, the path to get here was needlessly messy and mostly disappointing: Eric Bledsoe is gone.

Bledsoe will become Greg Monroe and two Bucks picks, after four-plus trips up and down the Phoenix Suns roller coaster. ESPN reports that Milwaukee was unwilling to include reigning Rookie of the Year in any trade for Bledsoe. Jabari Parker may never have been on the table, thanks to his injury history and pending free agency. This forced Ryan McDonough into what might be the worst value for any player he’s traded as general manager of the Suns.

It’s not a hopeless package. Monroe might be useful offensively in an Alan Williams-type role when he returns from a calf injury, and the front office has had luck timing those far-in-the-future first-rounders, especially in the Goran Dragic deal. The Suns now expect to have multiple first-round picks in two of the next four drafts.

Whether they use those picks on players or package them as trade chips, Phoenix has done incredibly well with mid-first round picks over the last half-decade. T.J. Warren and Devin Booker were both taken in the teens. It’s not unreasonable to expect similar success with the Milwaukee pick when it conveys.

On another hand, the deal makes certain the idea that the Suns own pick will once again be very high. Interim Coach Jay Triano has lifted them past humiliating early-season combustion, but frustrations during the season’s first east-coast trip shows that this is surely a team that will struggle like every young roster does.

Sending Bledsoe to the bench last February put the Suns in position to draft Josh Jackson -- a full season without the point guard may very well net an even higher pick. Regardless, it’s clear that the mishandling of Bledsoe’s situation over the last three seasons ended poorly for the organization. They no longer have the All-Star-caliber player they traded for, and received iffy return on their investment.

The Suns will save $15 million in 2018-19 salary, meaning that they can be a bigger player in free agency, if they’d like. But who, after the questionable treatment of Bledsoe in his prime, as well as the seemingly annual fallout between good players and this front office, is going to feel confident taking that money to be a part of this organization?

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