New York Knicks Rumors: Phoenix Suns’ Eric Bledsoe A Trade Target?


New York Knicks Rumors: Could Eric Bledsoe Become A Trade Target On Draft Night?

The New York Knicks are looking to improve their roster any way possible for the 2015-16 season after a disastrous 2014-15 campaign. While the Knicks have the cap space to do some damage in free agency, it also means that they could be players on the trade market as teams try and open up cap space of their own by moving players that have fallen out of favor. One of those teams and players could be the Phoenix Suns and guard Eric Bledsoe.

Bledsoe signed a multi-year contract with the Suns prior to last season after lengthy negotiations as a restricted free agent. But could he be a player that the Suns want to move this offseason after acquiring Brandon Knight at this year’s trade deadline?

Via ESPN, that is something that could happen. With the Suns seeming to favor Knight over Bledsoe at this time, he could become expendable. If it reaches that point, he is definitely someone that Phil Jackson and the Knicks would love to acquire.

Bledsoe will be turning 26 in December this year, so he is the type of youthful veteran the Knicks would be looking to receive as part of a package for the 4th overall pick. In addition, they would more than likely receive the 13th overall pick from the Suns’. At that slot, it would be much more practical for the Knicks to select a player such as Kentucky’s Trey Lyles, someone Jackson has been enamored with since the draft process began. The Knicks could also have a chance to select Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, Texas’ Myles Turner or Lyles’ teammate at Kentucky Devin Booker.

All four players would fill a hole on the Knicks roster, much like anyone they select with the 4th overall pick. The only difference is that they would be filling two holes by moving down nine spots and still getting a player they think highly of. Cameron Payne is another name to watch for if the Knicks move down, as there were rumors that they were seriously considering the Murray State product with the fourth overall selection.

In Bledsoe, the Knicks would be getting an extremely athletic guard that can get to the rim, something they have seem to lack every season. He can finish at the rim, something someone 6-feet-1 inches tall doesn’t always find easy to do, making 64.4 percent of his shots at the rim. He would add another dimension to the Knicks offense as a player that could get his own shot, instead of solely relying on Carmelo Anthony to bail them out every time down the court.

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Also, he will help out in other areas of the game. He rebounds extremely well for his size, pulling down 5.2 per game last season. His assist numbers are also strong for a player that spent most of the year splitting time in the backcourt with Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas and Knight, handing out 6.1 per game. Both were career highs for the explosive Bledsoe, who also tied a career high with 1.6 steals per game.

But, he doesn’t come without negatives. One has to be the struggles he has had with his three-point shot. Even though he was touted for his quickness, ball handling and shooting coming out of Kentucky, only two of those three have translated over to the NBA. He is only a 32.5 percent career shooter from deep, which is slightly below average.

Dec 20, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) drives the ball during the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Phoenix Suns won 99-90. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

That makes the Knicks seeming disinterest in prospect Emmanuel Mudiay confusing, as one of the knocks against him is his perimeter shooting, while that is the same flaw that Bledsoe currently has. The only reason that could be less of a problem with Bledsoe is because the Knicks have seen what he is capable of doing at the NBA level, while Mudiay is a relative unknown. Also, by acquiring Bledsoe, the Knicks would have a chance to upgrade not only one spot, but two.

Also, Bledsoe turned the ball over a career-high 3.4 times per game last season. While playing more minutes could result in more turnovers, that is an extremely high number regardless. While he ranked 48th in the NBA with a 23.6 usage rate, he was 16th in the NBA in turnover percentage and ninth in the NBA in turnovers per game. Keep in mind that was with plenty of other options playing alongside him in the backcourt that could play point guard; could he handle the responsibility as the lead guard all the time?

But, if the Knicks are sitting at four and a player such as D’Angelo Russell is sitting there, it would be hard to imagine a trade happening, even for a player as talented as Bledsoe. Russell has been rumored to be one of the players the Knicks have been targeting in this year’s draft, and if he is available, he will be the guy they pick.

View More: Who Is The Best Point Guard In Knicks’ History?

There is a strong chance that Russell is not available though, as the 76ers also are supposedly enamored with the Ohio State product. If that is the case, and Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are off the board as well, a trade down becomes more likely for the Knicks.

One thing for certain though is that the Knicks will not be making a move until draft night. They will not make a trade until they know how the board is shaking out and which prospects are available. If it comes down is, and no players the Knicks like enough are available with the fourth selection, a trade with the Suns could start getting legs to it. While there will be a number of teams interested in moving up, it is hard to believe the Knicks would be able to land a younger veteran with the upside and talent of Bledsoe.

We will just have to wait and see how everything plays out though, as nothing will be set in stone until names are called at the podium next Thursday, June 25th at the NBA Draft. Between now and then, expect the Knicks to be a part of plenty of rumors as they dangle the fourth overall pick and work phones trying to potentially make a deal.

Next: Was Carmelo Anthony the best athlete in New York in 2014?

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