We know who the Suns aren’t (so) willing to depart with to acquire Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who reportedly requested a trade three weeks ago.
Now, we know who they might be willing to give up to gain an asset that would immediately give Phoenix one of the best backcourts in the NBA.
It appears the Suns are holding firm that they won’t include rookie Josh Jackson in any deal to bring the suddenly disgruntled Irving to into the fold, according to myriad reports. The 6-8, 205-pounder out of Kansas has shown why he was worthy of the No. 4 overall draft selection. He wowed spectators in Summer League, averaging 17.4 points on 42.5 percent shooting from the field and 9.2 rebounds in five games in Las Vegas.
Bledsoe would be an obvious downgrade at point guard. The 28-year-old’s career averages (13.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds) pale in comparison to those of Irving (21.6, ppg, 5.6 apg,), a four-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year.
However, Bledsoe is coming off his best campaign in seven seasons in the league. In 2016-17, he went for 21.1 points and 6.3 assists, both career highs, while playing alongside burgeoning star shooting guard Devin Booker (22.1 ppg). Bledsoe, who shares an agent in Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul with LeBron James, posted a 20.6 player efficiency rating last season, easily the best on the Suns.
The 7-1 Bender was disappointing during his first season in the NBA, playing just 13.3 minutes per game and shooting an abysmal 35.4 percent from the field. However, at 19 years old, he’s a project Cleveland might want to take on, especially if the Heat’s 2018 first-round pick is included in the deal as rumored.