The Phoenix Suns announced they are moving on from their franchise point guard and sending Eric Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for big man Greg Monroe and first- and second-round draft picks.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news Tuesday, noting sources told him and colleague Zach Lowe of the deal. Wojnarowski later reported the two sides have agreed in principle, with there being protections on the selections.
Wojnarowski and Lowe later reported there will be lottery protections on the first-round pick.
Bledsoe, 27, averaged 21.1 points, 6.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 66 games last season. He was one of only a few guys to put up that well-rounded of a stat line.
Phoenix's decision to trade Bledsoe is no surprise, given recent developments. The Suns sent Bledsoe home a day after he tweeted "I don't wanna be here." Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said Bledsoe told him he was at a hair salon.
"He said he was at a hair salon. ... I didn't believe that to be true. He won't be with us going forward," McDonough said, per ABC15 Sports.
It wasn't long ago that it appeared Bledsoe won the favor of management. The Suns sent Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas packing at the 2015 trade deadline, bringing back Brandon Knight, who can play either guard spot. Knight and Bledsoe didn't mesh in the way Phoenix hoped, and Devin Booker has overtaken the starting 2 spot.
Bledsoe's ability to lead a playoff team came into question amid the Suns' descent from the Western Conference playoff race. They went from a 48-win team three years ago to winning a combined 47 the past two years.
Bledsoe kept his counting stats up and remains a talented defender, but he's undisciplined and has proved a difficult mix with Booker. The Suns' effort, including Bledsoe's, was noticeably lackluster during an 0-3 start that led to the dismissal of coach Earl Watson.
The 6'1" guard remains an open-court marvel who can attack off the dribble and finish over bigger defenders, using his mini-LeBron James-like frame to bounce off contact with ease.
But Bledsoe hasn't developed a consistent shot, and his three-point struggles hold him back more than any other aspect of his game. His catch-and-shoot percentage also remains miserable, and even his pull-up rate leaves a little to be desired.
Bledsoe's saving graces are his finishing ability at the rim and his defensive tenacity. His contract is more than palatable after the cap rise, but there has to be some concern about who he will be going forward.
Bledsoe is slightly older than Damian Lillard, John Wall and Kyrie Irving and is in the same general age range as a number of players who are more proven as franchise building blocks. It's possible Bledsoe tops out as a middle-of-the-pack starter at the league's deepest position, which probably plays into Phoenix's reasons for trading him.
The Bucks may also have an adjustment period bringing in Bledsoe and pairing him with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has essentially been their primary point guard. Bledsoe is at his most effective when he's attacking with the ball. Playing him and Giannis at the same time could create some spacing issues.
But the acquisition of Bledsoe still comes at an ideal cost. Greg Monroe is not the star many believed him to be a number of years ago. Considering the Suns' glut of big men, he could be headed for a buyout, if not a spot deep on the bench.