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Is the Eric Bledsoe trade really that bad for the Phoenix Suns?

I think the final grade is still up in the air.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Trade...

  • Out: Eric Bledsoe
  • In: Greg Monroe, protected 2018 1st round draft pick, protected 2018 2nd round draft pick

I get it that everyone (including me) wanted much more in return for Eric Bledsoe but, unlike many, I'm not exactly surprised, shocked and/or upset about the the trade.

Why? Well, even when you throw out the way the trade went down with all the media attention, we weren't just trading Bledsoe. We were also trading Bledsoe's knees and his fairly extensive injury history. Don't fool yourself into thinking that didn't also come into play when other teams were making decisions on what to offer up in trade. Certainly Ryan McDonough's public comments were harmful, just as was Bledsoe's "I Don't wanna be here" tweet, but I’m fairly certain that Bledsoe’s injury history was still probably the biggest factor in other teams’ calculations when they were considering what they were willing to offer for him.

I wouldn't doubt that it also played some part in why McDonough went ahead and traded Bledsoe now instead of at least waiting until December 15 when more NBA players would be eligible to be traded. Remember how Brandon Knight tore his ACL? In a freaking pickup game. Contrary to popular belief, Eric Bledsoe has not just been sitting at home playing with his yo-yo while waiting on this trade to happen. He's been active, working out to stay sharp and in shape and was going to return to the Suns training facility to do so.

Many times I've read comments here on Bright Side about Bledsoe's knees being 'ticking time bombs' or something similar. The possibility of him injuring himself during a workout is much less than during an actual game but was it worth taking the chance that it wouldn't happen just to hold out a little longer in hopes of a better deal... and perhaps be stuck with no deal at all?

Maybe, but now we'll never know which is why I'm not going to spend any more time dwelling on what is already done.

As for what the Suns got in return in the trade, well I agree that the Bucks won... at least for now.

As a player, Greg Monroe doesn't really move the Suns' win/loss needle and probably doesn't have a place on the team beyond this season (if that long). There's a lot of rumors and speculation that the Suns are either going to try to flip Monroe for more assets in another trade or simply buy out his contract. Whether he stays and plays, gets traded, gets bought out or just plain waived, he's still on a very large, expiring contract which can be very useful.

Here’s what McDonough had to say about the trade:

If Monroe stays or gets bought out, it will open up a very significant amount of cap space for the Suns this summer. Whether the Suns will be able to make good use of that cap space is yet to be determined but it will be there for them if they can find a way to use it. And Monroe can actually contribute on the court if he stays. He's not a great player by any stretch of the imagination but his per 36 numbers for the Bucks this season were 15.4 ppg, 11.3 rpg and 2.3 apg off the bench where his limited defensive skills aren't as impactful.

If they trade Monroe, I sincerely doubt that they are going to take back any long-term salary without getting a quality player and/or a draft pick back as part of the deal. Why would any team make such a deal for Monroe? Because there are a significant number of NBA teams that are not only over the cap but already in luxury tax territory that would at least consider a deal for Monroe to ease their financial problems this season as well as the next. Yes, the Suns would likely have to take back at least one player that they don't want in that kind of a deal but that would have to be weighed against whatever the other team is willing to add to "sweeten" the deal as in either a player/players and/or draft picks.

Regarding the draft picks that the Suns got in the deal, I have no problem with the protections placed on them. I wasn't expecting to get an unprotected first round pick in return for Bledsoe so the lottery protections don't bother me, especially since it's extremely unlikely that the Bucks' pick would fall in the 1-10 range. And I was glad to see the back-end protections.

Do the Suns really want the Bucks' pick this year if it falls between 17-30? With all the youngsters already on this team, I don't think that we want to potentially bring three more first round players to next season's training camp. In 2019 the protections are 1-3 and 17-30. Again, I doubt that pick would get the Suns a really useful player in the 17-30 range but if for whatever reason Milwaukee falters, the Suns could wind up with a very good pick in that draft. Of course, everything could work out great for the Bucks and that pick might not convey until 2020 and wind up being somewhere in the 25-30 range but I think it's a gamble worth taking... especially if no one was offering anything better. The fact that it probably won’t convey in this year’s draft might even make it a more valuable trade chip.

And that top 47 protected second round pick... well, that makes a probable four second round picks that the Suns will have this year (only if the Suns finish in the top 5 in the NBA does their 2nd rounder go to Memphis) which I will be shocked that the Suns actually still have by time the draft rolls around. Second rounders are trade sweeteners and I doubt that McD is finished trading yet.

Was this trade really a bad deal for the Suns?

Well, yes it was but maybe not as bad as many are making it out to be. Ryan McDonough didn't want Greg Monroe the player but he did want his expiring contract and those draft picks. What he does with them now will be the determining factor on the final grade for this trade.


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