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The Phoenix Suns made all sorts of headlines this week as guard Eric Bledsoe started off a firestorm with a tweet on Sunday that eventually led to the firing of head coach Earl Watson, but also led to Bledsoe being removed from the team as the Suns look for a trade.
On Wednesday, it was reported that the Lakers, along with every other team in the NBA, had reached out to the Suns about Bledsoe.
While it comes with many caveats, with that report in mind, we dove into whether the Lakers and Bledsoe are a fit in this week’s roundtable.
Should the Lakers trade for Eric Bledsoe?
Drew Hernandez – The question of whether or not the Lakers should trade for Eric Bledsoe is complicated. In a vacuum, it makes perfect sense to try to pry him away from Phoenix for minimal value given back, but that would mean the Lakers digging into the cap space that is needed for the summer. They may not end up signing LeBron James and Paul George, but trading say, Zubac for Bledsoe, would make having two max slots incredibly difficult.
The only way the Lakers can have close to the same cap situation and trade for Bledsoe is if they swap players with similar salaries. If so, then I’m all for the trade. Eric Bledsoe has averaged 19-5-5 over the past 3 seasons and would be an immediate upgrade in the guard rotation. He’d make the team better and would work well as a starting combo guard, or even as a backup.
Dillon Hiser – Okay, so this is going to get super weird for a second. I am actually on the fence about trading for Bledsoe, mainly due to the fact I don’t trust the plan of the front office for the summer of 2018.
But for the sake of arguing, I say yes, they should trade for Eric Bledsoe. He would offer a good defender to play alongside Lonzo Ball, he’d offer another playmaker in the half court, and he isn’t old or on a long/bad contract. The other reasoning is maybe he can recruit DeAndre Jordan away from the Clippers this summer.
Jordan tweeted about Bledsoe “coming home” to play with him in LA but we all know they’d be better served on the Lakers. We could roll out a lineup of Bledsoe, Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma [EDITOR’S NOTE: Julius Randle better], Jordan. I’d pay League Pass prices to watch that team.
Kendrew Abueg – I’m going to go ahead and say yes to trading for Bledsoe. With a team willing to push the pace and keep the speed of the game going, Bledsoe would fit personnel-wise with the Lakers.
Another factor in this is the front office. I’m about five percent sure that the front office can bring the pairing of James and George to the team in the offseason of 2018, and having Bledsoe this year and the next would be a good way to improve the team. Yes, they have Ball already at the point, but I’m not opposed to adding more talent to the team as Bledsoe is relatively young. It also gives him a backcourt partner for when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope eventually leaves in the summer of 2018 as well.
Anthony Irwin – No
What would your trade for Eric Bledsoe look like?
Hernandez – In a perfect scenario, the Sun’s relationship with Bledsoe is in such disarray that they have to trade him for scraps. In that case, I trade Luol Deng. Sadly, while Bledsoe is almost certainly not playing for the Suns again, his trade value is not “Luol Deng straight up” bad.
So my trade would consist of Jordan Clarkson for Bledsoe, straight up. The Lakers can sell them on this Clarkson being the real deal, as he’s played really good lately, so they’d theoretically be getting a good young player for a couple years. He’s not as good as Bledsoe, but they’re trying to get some value and this may be it.
This trade not only helps the Lakers on the court, but it also helps their cap situation. The Lakers need to trade either Randle or Deng and then Clarkson to sign both LeBron and Paul George. If I’m betting on which contract is easier to trade over the summer, Clarkson’s or Bledsoe’s, I’m betting on Bledsoe’s. Clarkson has two years left on his deal after the season ends, while Bledsoe has only one and he’s the superior player. I don’t know if the Sun’s will accept the trade, but it’s a no-brainer for the Lakers.
Hiser – In a hypothetical trade for Bledsoe, I don’t think the Lakers should or would need to give up anything of long-term importance. The Suns general manager is digging himself a hole by calling Bledsoe a liar and dismissing him from the team when he already wants out so they don’t really have much leverage here.
If they are going to get to two max contract spots then Clarkson and Julius Randle are likely not with the team so I would do a deal involving both of those guys for Bledsoe in return.
Abueg – I would be okay with the Lakers trading away Clarkson and either Larry Nance, Jr. or Randle, but my preference is the former. Maybe Nance padding his stats with Lonzo in the starting five is upping his trade value? As the Lakers are trying to do what they can to keep the cap space for two superstars in 2018, I’m sure they’re more inclined to trading away Randle along with Clarkson if they attempted a trade.
Irwin – See question 1.