“Unless they can trade Bledsoe, they will probably be hard-pressed to re-sign both Lonzo and Hart,” a rival league executive said. “They don’t pay the [luxury] tax.”
Teams in need of a point guard are preparing for Ball in free agency even with the Pelicans owning matching rights. New Orleans has only $91 million on its books for next season, giving the team cap space and plenty of room under the tax line. But Josh Hart, who has also been proficient playing alongside Williamson, will also be a restricted free agent -- and likely will be a more cost-efficient option than Ball. Attempts to move Eric Bledsoe, who is owed $18 million next year, haven't been successful.
Yes, the Pelicans love their young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, et. al. But if you’re wondering why Lonzo Ball’s name is coming up in trade talks, it’s in part due to New Orleans’ desire to move off some of its expensive, longer deals. While Ball’s deal is expiring (at about $11 million), Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams both have two full seasons left, for nearly $90 million. Ball could serve as a reward to a trade partner for taking on one of those contracts.
One other note on New Orleans and the Knicks: In the weeks leading up to the deadline, the Pelicans spoke to several teams about a trade package that would send Eric Bledsoe and a first-round pick to a team with interest, per SNY sources. The Knicks were among the teams New Orleans spoke with, sources say.
Mike Mazzeo: In potential talks about pending Pelicans RFA PG Lonzo Ball, Knicks have been trying to find a third team to take Eric Bledsoe's remaining deal, source says. Unclear if anything occurs before Thursday's deadline. JJ Redick has also been linked to Knicks (w/ Nets buyout possible)
The other includes the names that have been bandied about by executives around the league for weeks now: Ball, Bledsoe and Redick. "They're willing to move on from all of those guys," said a West scout.
Veteran point guard Eric Bledsoe also is very available, but sources say his market has been minimal so far.
Redick and Bledsoe, however, still appear very much available, league sources said.
And while he was brought in by Griffin to serve as a playoff-tested cultural leader, Alvin Gentry's coaching staff even lobbied the front office to move on from him last season, sources said. There's now a widespread sense New Orleans is hoping to move Redick to a franchise closer to his family in Brooklyn. "I think they're just trying to do right by him," said a league source close to the situation.
At 31, Bledsoe's own defensive deficiencies make him a suboptimal starting option in the backcourt, and the point guard does not match a Pelicans timeline that features the younger Williamson and Ingram. Moving Bledsoe would also afford more playing time for Nickeil Walker-Alexander and Kira Lewis Jr., two young ball-handlers the front office is said to be particularly bullish on but who have been trapped behind the veteran in Stan Van Gundy's rotation. "That's the challenge when you bring in an old-school coach," said a rival scout.
Brian Windhorst: There have also been rumors about Kelly Oubre-Lonzo Ball trade. I mean that's no secret, that's sort of been out there. (...) The Pelicans have struggled, especially defensively. (...) They've shopped their guards. They've shopped Eric Bledsoe, Ball and JJ Redick.
Shams Charania: Trade complete: MIL: Jrue Holiday, No. 60 pick Sam Merrill NOLA: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, ‘25/'27 1sts, ‘24/'26 swaps via MIL OKC: George Hill, Josh Gray, Kenrich Williams, Zylan Cheatham, Darius Miller, ‘23 protected 1st via Denver, two 2nd round picks DEN: RJ Hampton
Adrian Wojnarowski: New Orleans is nearing completion of a deal to send G Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and what's described as "significant" draft compensation, sources tell ESPN. Teams are still working through the picks in trade.
Kevin O'Connor: Sources: The Bucks pursued a trade with the Thunder for Dennis Schroder and were deep in trade negotiations last week. Ultimately, the Lakers landed Schroder. Now the Bucks must move on to other targets. Eric Bledsoe remains the player Milwaukee is dangling most in trade talks.
Chris Mannix: The Lakers had explored a deal for Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe, league sources told @SInow. A Schroder trade would remove that from consideration. If completed, Lakers would be armed with a young, versatile guard coming off his most complete NBA season.
Multiple league sources say the Bucks are active in trade discussions; they’re looking to move on from Eric Bledsoe, and have offered him to several teams. They’re also in pursuit of Rockets forwards Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker; Houston doesn’t have a pick in this draft and is moving toward a retooling period with Russell Westbrook wanting out. If the Bucks stay here, or even if the pick is traded, it’s hard to see Anthony dropping any further. He was a top high-school recruit and a projected lottery pick heading into the season. He had a disastrous freshman season at North Carolina, but his shot-creation skills could ultimately add a lot to any offense he’s part of.
Multiple league sources say the Bucks are active in trade discussions; they’re looking to move on from Eric Bledsoe, and have offered him to several teams.
It is an open secret in the NBA that the Bucks are going to try to trade Eric Bledsoe, although no current trade discussions are taking place, a league source said on Thursday. What needs to be discussed in the days and weeks ahead is whether moving Middleton for a more proven playoff performer needs to happen, too.
The 39-6 Milwaukee Bucks have the best record in the NBA and have refuted a report that they would be willing to deal guard Eric Bledsoe if offered an enticing return package. "We have no talked to any teams about trading [Bledsoe], since the day that we traded for him," Bucks general manager Jon Horst told Bleacher Report's Howard Beck. "And I think it's evident, pretty strongly, in the fact that we extended Eric, what he means to us. The fact that we currently have the best record in the NBA, had the best record last year in the NBA, he's an All-NBA First Team defender and a guy that we feel strongly should be an All-Star for the Milwaukee Bucks this year. We have not had those conversations, and we are not going to trade Eric Bledsoe."
Around the same time, the Nuggets were in the red zone -- if not at the goal line -- in talks with Phoenix for Eric Bledsoe, according to several league sources. The deal would almost certainly have included Mudiay and a first-round pick. Talks collapsed, and the Nuggets washed their hands of it. They would chase a playoff spot in one of the toughest conferences in history behind a 20- and 21-year-old sharing the controls with Jokic. Connelly would not comment on specific trade talks. "We chase every opportunity to improve ourselves," he says. "We've had a lot of excellent players offered to us for our young talent. There's a fine line between overvaluing your own players and being too aggressive chasing short-term results."
According to Wojnarowski, the Suns were initially seeking a good young player and a first-round pick – or two – in exchange for Eric Bledsoe.
After four seasons of enduring constant roster instability and postseason absences, point guard Eric Bledsoe told ESPN he is happy to be embarking on a new chapter with the resurging Milwaukee Bucks. "It means a lot to me," Bledsoe, 27, told ESPN in a phone interview on Tuesday. "I'm in my prime and headed to a competitive situation in the Eastern Conference. This is a great time for me and my family. We're looking forward to getting started in Milwaukee. I had a great time in Phoenix, but I'm excited for what's next."
During radio interviews in the days that followed, McDonough questioned Bledsoe's leadership and continually stated that he was receiving bad advice. Bledsoe chose not to respond directly to McDonough's comments, but said he wanted to clear his name. "Not really," he said when asked if he wanted to respond to being perceived as dishonest. "The situation is over with. What's done is done. I can't wait to join the Bucks, but I'm not a liar."
After four seasons of enduring constant roster instability and postseason absences, Eric Bledsoe tells ESPN that he is happy to be moving on to embark on a new chapter with the resurging Milwaukee Bucks. "It means a lot to me," the 27-year-old guard told ESPN in a phone interview on Tuesday. "I'm in my prime, and headed to a competitive situation in the Eastern Conference. This is a great time for me and my family. We're looking forward to getting started in Milwaukee. I had a great time in Phoenix, but I'm excited for what's next."
"I felt like with where the team was headed, it was time for me to move on," he said. "They've got an amazing young talented team and I feel like it was time for me to find a better situation for my career. It had nothing to do with anything the Suns had going on. I made the decision that this was best for me."
"I felt like it was time [to leave], especially when they sat me down last year," Bledsoe acknowledged. "It gave me a better picture, a more clearer picture of what I needed to do." At the time, word trickled out that he was dealing with "knee soreness," possibly to justify shutting him down. "I was 100 percent healthy then, and I'm 100 percent healthy now," he said adamantly.
With the way things ended for Bledsoe in Phoenix, is that something that bothered you or gave you any pause? Jon Horst: “No, because with everything we do we do our due diligence. In surveying the league and getting that information, to a person everyone thinks very highly of Eric. I think in this business sometimes the business aspect of it takes over. … I think he was in a tough situation.”
Does Bledsoe fit more than Monroe in the way the modern NBA looks and feels and in a way that makes the Bucks a more competitive team in the modern NBA? Jon Horst: “I don’t buy into that. Greg Monroe’s a really good player. Greg was really productive for us on the floor, he’s a great person off the floor. He helped us have a lot of success here and we’re thankful for him and the things that he did for us in helping a young team grow. I think players like Greg Monroe have a role in this NBA without a doubt.”
ESPN Cleveland: Windhorst: When the #Cavs talked to the Suns, they wanted the Brooklyn pick. I don't think their talks got too serious.
Outside of Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe will likely be playing alongside Malcolm Brogdon. Already showing strides in year two, the Bucks current starting point guard is curious to see how the two mesh in the backcourt when he arrives. “You know at this point, you can’t be sure,” Brogdon told Basketball Insiders Tuesday of what the acquisition does for the team. “I think it’ll be a positive. Losing Moose [Monroe] is definitely a negative for us. He brought so much to the table for us, especially coming off the bench. He’s a starter that came off the bench. But you know, having another guard that can really create his own shot, get downhill and make plays—I think that will definitely help us.”
Malcolm Brogdon told Basketball Insiders that we could be watching the Bucks play with more guard-heavy sets in small ball moving forward. When asked if that fits his skill set, he immediately nodded his head in approval. “We’re a defensive-minded team, but we want to be fast,” Brogdon told Basketball Insiders. “We want to play in the open court and we want to be very versatile and be able to defend multiple positions on defense. Having more guards and sort of mid-sized guys is gonna help us.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: First-round pick protection: 2018: Suns get Bucks pick between 11-to-16. 2019: 4-to-16. 2020: 8 to 30. 2021: Unprotected.
Bobby Marks: The Bucks will create a $3.38M Trade Exception and fall $4.4M below the luxury tax after shipping out Greg Monroe in exchange for Eric Bledsoe. The point guard has a $14.5M cap hit this year and $15M next season. The Bucks now have $106M in contracts next season, roughly $16M below the luxury tax. Bringing back restricted free agent Jabari Parker will likely push Milwaukee into the tax. Milwaukee also has a $5M Trade Exception that will expire in February.
The Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks have reached an agreement on a trade that will send point guard Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee in exchange for center Greg Monroe and a future first-round draft pick, a person with direct knowledge of the agreement confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke under the condition of anonymity because the trade had not yet been made official. Bledsoe, 27, hasn't played since his infamous "I don't want be here" tweet, which he sent shortly before the news broke that Suns head coach Earl Watson had been fired just three games into the season. Suns general Manager Ryan McDonough said afterwards that Bledsoe "won't be" with the team going forward.
Matt Velazquez: League sources say the picks in the not-yet-finalized Bucks-Suns deal are a "uniquely" protected 2018 first & top 47 protected 2018 second.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Suns finalizing deal to send Eric Bledsoe to Bucks, league sources tell @ZachLowe_NBA and me.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Phoenix finalizing deal to send Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee for Greg Monroe and a first-round draft pick, sources tell @Zach Lowe and me.
Jonathan Wasserman: Suns also get Miami's 1st-round pick if it lands outside top 7. Assuming pick in Bledsoe deal is 2018, Phoenix could have three 1st-rounders twitter.com/wojespn/status…
Bobby Marks: The Bucks will gain luxury tax flexibility this season with the Eric Bledsoe $14.5M cap hit. Milwaukee was $1M below the tax before the trade and are now $4.3M. Next year is where things get complicated for Milwaukee. The Bledsoe 2018–19 $15M salary has the Bucks with $116M in guaranteed salaries, $6M below the tax. The restricted free agency of Jabari Parker will push the Bucks into the tax. The Bucks will also gain a $3.38M trade exception.
Alex Kennedy: This could be a steal for the Bucks. Remember, last year Eric Bledose averaged 21.1 points, 6.3 assists, 4.8 boards, 1.4 steals in 66 games.
There have been several teams pursuing a deal for Bledsoe, giving the Suns several potential offers to choose from, but they continue to hold off in hopes of receiving more value. Prior to the season, Bledsoe had amicably informed the Suns’ ownership and front office about his desire for a trade, but was sent away from the team in late October with the expectation of a trade. He has this season and 2018-19 remaining on his contract.
Last season Cousins got his wish with a trade out of Sacramento and now Bledsoe is seeking the same out of Phoenix. After four years in Phoenix, Bledsoe wants to win and Wall understands his plight. "I talk to him all the time," Wall said. "He's just sitting back and being a professional. He can't do nothing about it. He doesn't want to be there. He wants to go somewhere else. It's kind of all in the Suns' hands and where they want to trade him to and what they want to get back for him. He's still working out every day and being a dad at home."
It was reminiscent of last season, when similar rumors surfaced about Jackson being shopped around the league during the trade deadline and after the season. “It was crazy yesterday,” Van Gundy said Friday. “I left practice yesterday and there’s a rumor out on Reggie and Bledsoe so I had to get home and call Reggie and say we’re not trading you for Bledsoe. I don’t usually address all of them but it’s early in the (season). You can’t address all of them at the trade deadline, but I felt the need to address this.”
Jackson said he hadn’t heard about any of the rumors before Van Gundy contacted him at about 3 p.m. Thursday. “I don’t pay attention and really don’t care (about rumors),” Jackson said. “Everybody’s media nowadays. Anybody can write anything and it can go on the web. That’s the beauty and downfall of the internet. Who cares? Everybody’s going to talk and have their own opinion. “I’m still in Detroit and still here to compete and make my team the best it can be. If something else happens, it happens. That’s not something I’m concerned about.”
New Orleans was the third team involved in today's Eric Bledsoe-to-Detroit talks, multiple sources told SI.com. After a morning of trade discussions, the proposed deal is now dead.
The deal would have landed Jackson in New Orleans, adding more shooting and playmaking on the perimeter and finally freeing the Pelicans of two large contracts the team has persistently tried to shed.
The Detroit Pistons offered a package including point guard Reggie Jackson and a first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns for guard Eric Bledsoe, a league source told Basketball Insiders. Phoenix turned down the proposal, Basketball Insiders has learned. Detroit’s interest in acquiring Bledsoe was first reported by the New York Times. According to ESPN, Phoenix would prefer a third team to take on Jackson in any potential deal involving Bledsoe. Although Detroit’s first proposal wasn’t enough for Phoenix to pull the trigger, a third team can be added with those same pieces to complete the trade equation at another time.
Marc Stein: League sources say Detroit should be added to the list of teams showing interest in Eric Bledsoe, but any deal would surely depend (CONT')
Several teams have shown interest in Okafor as a reclamation project, and league sources said that the aftermath of a possible Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe trade could trigger the freeing of a roster spot or salary cap space for a team to absorb Okafor. The Suns have been monitoring Okafor's circumstance with the 76ers, and a Bledsoe deal could create the moving parts around the league necessary for Okafor to be relocated.
McDonough said by text message Monday that he had no timetable for a potential Bledsoe trade. It’s been speculated that Phoenix could wait until Dec. 15, when players who signed as free agents in the offseason are eligible to be traded. “We are open to doing a deal whenever the best offer presents itself,” McDonough said. “Any other comments or thoughts from me would be pure speculation at this point.”
As of this writing, the Cavs are not in on Bledsoe, according to sources closes to the team and to Bledsoe, and the trade you suggested doesn't make sense for the Cavs. None really do, so long as Thomas returns healthy and Rose is accountable all season.
On Bledsoe’s trade value, which had been criticized as being hurt by McDonough’s comments on Bickley & Marotta on Tuesday: “We’ve gotten some pretty good offers, especially in the last 24 hours or so. We’re comfortable with the offers we’re getting. There are a few teams in particular that are being pretty aggressive. Contrary to what you might have heard or read, there is a strong market for Eric Bledsoe.”
Brogdon perfectly fits the mold of the player the Suns are seeking in a trade for Bledsoe: a relatively young starting guard –Brogdon is 24 and turns 25 on Dec. 11 – to team with gifted shooting guard Devin Booker. But sources claim the Bucks are somewhat reluctant to trade Brogdon, whose all-around game, unselfishness and maturity have meshed nicely with Antetokounmpo and Middleton.
But sources said the Bucks are, at least for now, dangling veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova, who started 54 games last season and averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 assists, instead of Brogdon. The Suns are balking and appear adamant on wanting Brogdon.
The Nuggets and Bucks, according to two NBA officials, are regarded as the leaders in the Bledsoe Sweepstakes, although those same sources said a spate of other teams, including playoff-caliber ones like the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston and Miami, have internally tossed around the idea of acquiring Bledsoe.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN: In the initial conversations that the Suns had with teams yesterday – teams like the Bucks and the Nuggets and the Knicks and the Clippers are some of the teams that they’ve talked to – their asking price was very high. Some of the team that I’ve talked to were taken aback by what the Suns asked for.
If they’re going to keep their asking price very high – which is usually, in some of these talks, a young player and a draft pick or a young player and an established player – they may have to wait a while for the market to play out.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, via Arizona Sports 98.7 FM: We’ve gotten some pretty good offers, especially in the last 24 hours or so. We’re comfortable with the offers we’re getting. There are a few teams in particular that are being pretty aggressive. Contrary to what you might have heard or read, there is a strong market for Eric Bledsoe. I think we heard from all 29 teams at this point.
Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough questioned the leadership of Eric Bledsoe and the advice Bledsoe is getting from his agent, Rich Paul, who also represents notable players such as LeBron James, John Wall and rookie Ben Simmons. In an interview on Arizona Sports radio 98.7 on Tuesday, McDonough further addressed Bledsoe’s tweet on Sunday that read, “I don’t wanna be here.” The tweet was posted moments before the organization fired coach Earl Watson. “I was certainly surprised by it and disappointed by it,” McDonough said. “I think Eric’s a good person. I think he’s unfortunately gotten some bad advice and is listening to the wrong people. I think generally, any time you sign a contract, it doesn’t only work one way. It works both ways, and for a guy with years on his contract to say or intimate he didn’t want to be here anymore, I didn’t find that to be appropriate, and I think if he says he wants to be a leader, that’s the opposite of what a leader does and the opposite of what leadership is. So I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
“I think, just my opinion, the shift comes from contractual demands made by his representatives,” McDonough said of Bledsoe's desire to move on, “and that’s what I was referring to when I said I think he got bad advice.”
“If you can imagine, my phone was ringing a lot yesterday,” McDonough said. “The ideal time to get a deal done is whenever the best offer presents itself. So we’d be fine doing it sooner rather than later. At the same time, he’s under contract for this year plus next year. We sent him away from the team to eliminate that distraction. So we’re willing to do a deal, we’re open to do a deal whenever the best offer presents itself.”
What about the Eric Bledsoe situation? We’re all assuming he’s done in Phoenix. Alan Williams: Bled is my homeboy and I want the best for him. Would hate to see him go, but I know that it is a business and things happen. A Bledsoe move might involve other Phoenix players too. Does that have an impact on team atmosphere? (If you’re not keeping track, Porzingis is 1 of 12 now. Rough night). Alan Williams: The thought of players moving hasn’t impacted us. We are a strong, resilient group and stay together through whatever. (And yeah man, 82 games you’re bound to have a couple you aren’t too proud of).
Sources say the Knicks found the Suns’ request of a Ntilikina/Hernangomez package as “ridiculous.’’ Ntilikina, 19, was to miss his second straight game Tuesday against the Celtics with a sprained ankle – his rookie experience marred by injuries so far dating to the summer league in July.
TJ McBride: My eyes confirm that Rich Paul, agent of Eric Bledsoe, is at the Pepsi Center spending time with Tim Connelly before taking on the Wizards.
The Suns and Denver Nuggets have discussed a trade of Eric Bledsoe for Emmanuel Mudiay and other pieces, league sources told Basketball Insiders. Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried has emerged as part of the trade package with Mudiay, league sources told Basketball Insiders.
My question is, why aren't the Suns better? They have a decent team, they're young, they've had a consistent team, no big moves, "deep" lineup, no major flaws. So why are they a 24-58 team? David Aldridge: The short answer to his question, though, is found in that firing. There isn’t anyone outside Phoenix’s management that thinks the Suns’ awful, awful start -- 0 and 3 out of the gate, including 48- and 42-point shellackings by the Blazers and Clippers, respectively -- is just Watson’s fault. Ownership, in the form of Robert Sarver, and management, in the form of GM Ryan McDonough, will be on their third head coach together since the improbable 48-34 season of 2013-14. They’re the ones that have traded Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, and gave Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight $70 million extensions, and gave Tyson Chandler $52 million (yes, in pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge, but gambles that don’t pay off aren’t celebrated), and have seen none of their Lottery picks look like budding superstars yet. And they’re the reason, I’m told, that Bledsoe wants out. Bledsoe’s “I Dont wanna be here” tweet, posted Sunday afternoon, just before news of Watson’s firing broke, was not directed at Watson, a source said. Yet another source that’s been around the team put more blame -- 70 percent, the source said -- on Watson.
June 30, 2022 | 12:26 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: The Mavericks are indeed sending their contingent to New York today for a meeting with Jalen Brunson after 6 PM ET. Team owner Mark Cuban was already in NYC this week on non-NBA business and will be joined by Nico Harrison, Michael Finley and Jason Kidd.
It isn’t clear Brunson would be willing to return to the Mavericks even if they matched New York’s offer, something that has affected the resignation team sources have expressed to The Athletic about his presumed departure. But as recently as Tuesday, Dallas also hadn’t yet been prepared to increase their offer. We’ll see if that changes.
Re-signing Brunson at a deal that pays him $30 million annually, per Bobby Mark’s calculations, could cost the team $130 million in salary and subsequent taxes next season. That’s without the team using its taxpayer’s mid-level exception, a $6.4-million carveout that the team might need to sign another wing or split among several players asking more than the veteran’s minimum. It’s another calculation the team must make, a financial one dependent on how much Cuban is truly willing to spend. Dallas can’t be blamed for its valuation of Brunson being lower than New York’s. Team sources have certainly expressed surprise and dismay at just how much the Knicks are prepared to offer him. But sometimes, that’s the cost of free agency.
I’d expect the Knicks to waive Gibson and then give strong consideration to signing him to a new contract later in the offseason; though, as SNY reported, the club has several backup centers on its radar. Among them: Isaiah Hartenstein and Andre Drummond, per sources. Bleacher Report first noted Hartenstein on the Knicks’ radar. The Knicks will be aggressive in their pursuit of Hartenstein, per SNY sources. The Orlando Magic, as Marc Stein reported, is also a suitor for Hartenstein. Teams with interest in Drummond say the Knicks have a degree of interest in the center.
Tony Jones: The Utah Jazz will not extend a qualifying offer to point guard Trent Forrest, making him an unrestricted free agent, League Sources tell The Athletic. There is interest in working something out during free agency. Forrest was a member of the rotation this past season