PG Eric Bledsoe enjoyed a breakout year in 2013-14, but an ACL injury ended his season.However, he’s currently entrenched in contract negotiations with his current team, the Phoenix Suns. As those negotiations have fallen apart, a deal to send him to the Los Angeles Lakers has reportedly entered the equation. One fairly major problem, however, is that there’s no conceivable deal that works for both teams.
Before considering any potential deals, one has to wonder where information and reports might be coming from. In this situation, you have a player and his agent who believe he is worth more than the original four-year, $48 million offer. Numerous players and coaches have profited greatly off of the Lakers without signing a contract.
The Lakers, when desperate, offer great leverage to anyone looking to squeeze a couple extra million out of a potential contract. I’m not calling those making these reports liars, but the chances that they’re being fed incorrect information are definitely worth betting on.
If the rumors are true, Bledsoe would be the best point guard the Lakers have had since Nick Van Exel decades ago, but he comes with his share of red flags. He’s never played an entire season as the starting point guard in either the NBA or NCAA. At the University of Kentucky, he played behind John Wall and did the same behind Chris Paul for the Los Angeles Clippers. Last season would’ve been his first complete season had it not been for that knee injury.
The Lakers would also have to worry about Bledsoe’s recovery. His elite athleticism makes him the force he can be on a basketball court. Defensively, he can disrupt opposing team’s offensive gameplans with ball pressure and cuts through their defenses by using quickness and strength. Bledsoe is not, however, skilled enough to make up for any long-term ill-effects from his injury or surgery.
Phoenix has already burnt the Lakers once with a superstar point guard with injury history (cough, Steve Nash, cough), and another such transaction would be devastating to LA’s near and future plans. It’s for this reason alone the Lakers can’t include Julius Randle in any trade. The Suns, on the other hand, wouldn’t accept a deal for their starting point guard without Randle’s inclusion.
Beyond Randle, the Lakers don’t have any desirable pieces Phoenix would accept. Sure, Nash is the most popular player in Suns history, but trades aren’t made solely on sentimentality. The Lakers acquired a first-round pick from Houston in the Jeremy Lin deal, but the pick will probably be in the 20s, and isn’t especially appealing to Phoenix. In all likelihood, the Suns are probably asking for Nash, Randle and that pick for Bledsoe — which would be way too much return for a player with such question marks. Fans will point out the potential for a third team to facilitate a deal, but that only further complicates a trade and very few teams are lining up to help the Lakers.
While rumors are fun, especially those featuring the NBA’s premiere franchise, fans must first take into account where information might be coming from and then figure out whether such deals are feasible. In Bledsoe’s case, he and his agent stand to profit most from such rumors. The hope here is Laker fans will get excited about Bledsoe’s potential return to L.A., and Suns fans will react to his potential departure, placing the pressure on Suns management to sign a larger deal. A deal could be consummated, but I’m not holding my breath.