Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted an obvious dig at his team. Later in the day, the organization fired head coach Earl Watson.
The team had a winless, ugly start to the season before Watson and three assistants were let go from the staff. Even though the timing of the tweet from Bledsoe is curious, the sentiment is not new for the 27-year-old guard.
According to John Gambadoro, Bledsoe has not been satisfied with the franchise and met with the front office about a trade before the recent season.
Bledsoe was sent home after meeting with the team and has likely played his final game for Phoenix, according to ESPN. Reports indicate several teams around the league have interest in trading for the guard.
Below are some of the teams that would make the most sense for his services if he is on his way out for the Suns.
During the offseason, Bledsoe was considered the potential centerpiece of a deal that would send Kyrie Irving to Phoenix. No trade materialized, though, as the Suns were reportedly reluctant to include Josh Jackson.
Bledsoe has a longtime friendship with LeBron James, with whom he shares an agent. Bledsoe and James were spotted working out together in Las Vegas before the season began. Some refer to Bledsoe as “mini-LeBron” as well.
Dwyane Wade, who is being moved to the Cavaliers’ second unit, has not looked very sharp to start the latest chapter of his career so it shouldn’t surprise anyone if they are in the market for Bledsoe.
From a salary standpoint, they can offer Iman Shumpert (a longtime subject of trade rumors) paired with Channing Frye (who played for Phoenix from 2009 until 2004) and a future draft pick. JR Smith, who is now starting in place of Wade, and Tristan Thompson, who has been relegated to the bench this year, also both match up contractually for an amenable offer.
Bledsoe, of course, could have a huge impact on playoff candidates like Denver.
In fact, Denver could be the most likely destination considering Kenneth Faried has openly expressed his desire to change teams. His contract is a perfect match for an agreeable trade, too. Another option is a package that would include Emmanuel Mudiay, Juancho Hernangomez and Darrell Arthur.
Wilson Chandler and Mudiay are another pair that would work for a trade to land Bledsoe, who would be an excellent addition to Gary Harris in the backcourt. With him on the team, they could have a young core developing alongside big man Nikola Jokic.
Especially if the Nuggets were willing to throw in future first round picks, Phoenix could be willing to cut their losses and move on, building around Jackson and Devin Booker.
New Orleans Pelicans
During his one collegiate season at Kentucky, Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins were teammates. The Pelicans could use an additional point guard with Rajon Rondo injured, though they recently signed Jameer Nelson.
But the idea of Nelson off the bench, adding depth to their backcourt, isn’t the worst for New Orleans. Even when Rondo does come back, the team is in desperate need of improved guard play.
Cousins, a free agent at the end of the season, was a groomsman for Bledsoe. The two have an established chemistry and could play well together for this team, which lacks anyone with the skillset that Bledsoe provides.
The Pelicans would likely need to include Omer Asik and Cheick Diallo, as well as future draft picks, for a deal to work.
Sticking with the theme of former Kentucky players now in the NBA, the Kings seem to have an affinity as they currently have De’Aaron Fox, Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein on their roster. But there’s not much else about a deal that would make sense here considering Buddy Hield and Fox are their projected starting guards moving forward.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons may make sense for basketball reasons, as Bledsoe would fill a needed role for both teams and he could aim for a shot to play in the postseason.
The New York Knicks could be willing to trade Courtney Lee or a package of Lance Thomas and Kyle O’Quinn, though it’s doubtful Bledsoe would want to go to a rebuilding team in potentially worse shape than the one where he is right now.
The same can be said of the Orlando Magic, who may have the necessary assets to acquire him depending what they would be able to part ways with.