For whatever reason, the Phoenix Suns were expected to match any offer for 24-year-old phenom Eric Bledsoe. However, after the Suns drafted former Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis with the No. 18 pick in last night’s NBA Draft, Bledsoe’s future is way up in the air.
It’s funny, too, because the Toronto Raptors, who everybody believed were destined to draft Ennis, apparently won’t even be able to acquire him via trade: “Raptors keep trying to get Ennis, but Suns are holding out for now, per league source,” tweeted David Aldridge last night.
The Raptors — like the Suns with Bledsoe — were trying to prepare themselves for the possible departure of point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry is set to become an unrestricted free agent, while Bledsoe will be restricted, and the Suns appear to have beaten the Raptors to the punch at their own game of reloading at the point.
What seems totally obvious by now, though, is that the Suns — unless the team brings back that crazy Danny Ainge-style offense from the late 1990s — are not going to bring back Bledsoe, who wants a max contract. The Suns have traded guard Goran Dragic before, but after averaging 20.3 points and 5.9 assists this past season, GM Ryan McDonough won’t make the same mistake as his predecessor.
Of course, McDonough, before becoming the Suns GM in 2013, worked for Danny Ainge‘s Boston Celtics. But McDonough is more likely going to try and do a sign-and-trade deal with Bledsoe, bringing back Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love. For fans of small-ball, the Suns throwing Bledsoe, Dragic and Ennis on the court at the same time would be too surreal and fun, but the writing is on the wall — ‘Mini-LeBron’ is taking his talents elsewhere.
The Dallas Mavericks, who have a massive hole at point guard after the Tyson Chandler trade, will likely go hard for Bledsoe. Considering Bledsoe’s otherworldly talents, though, the Mavericks won’t be alone.