Just more than two weeks after Eric Bledsoe not so subtly let his 223,000 Twitter followers know that he didn’t “wanna be here”—which he claimed was in reference to a hair salon—the Suns rid themselves of any further drama by trading Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks for Greg Monroe, a lottery-protected 2018 first-round pick, and a second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The first-rounder conveys if the pick falls between nos. 11 and 16 in 2018, between nos. 4 and 16 in 2019, or between nos. 8 and 30 in 2020, and is unprotected in 2021, per Wojnarowksi. The second-rounder conveys if it’s between nos. 48 and 60 in 2018.
During the lull between the subtweet and Tuesday’s reported trade, the Bucks were rumored to be circling Bledsoe. Which makes sense—Bledsoe’s 6-foot-7.5 wingspan and ballhandling seemed to fit snugly into a team that prioritizes length and athleticism. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound combo guard now gives Milwaukee a second ballhandling option who could take some of the load off Giannis Antetokounmpo, whom the Bucks have had to rely on a lot of late.
After two years backing up Chris Paul, Bledsoe broke through playing next to point guard Goran Dragic in Phoenix, so there’s precedent for his new situation. Last season Bledsoe averaged a career-high 21.1 points on just 43.4 percent shooting from the field with a career-high 6.9 free throw attempts over 66 games for a hapless Suns team.
The move to acquire the veteran guard only three weeks into the season seems like a clear signal that the Bucks are going for it this year. Landing one of the top three seeds in the East is not out of the question, despite a recent three-game skid that has some questioning the roster makeup and coaching. That the Bucks were able to acquire Bledsoe for only Monroe, a second-rounder, and a non-lottery first-round pick while also holding onto their young core (be it Thon Maker or Malcolm Brogdon) makes this an instant win.
For the Suns, they get some picks, a future asset, and some long-term cap space. It was just over two years ago that Monroe signed a $51 million contract in Milwaukee, choosing the Bucks over bigger markets like New York. Though the free-agent signing was a boon for the usually glossed-over Bucks, Monroe quickly proved an awkward fit among the speedier, perimeter-based bunch around him. Now his greatest advantage to a young Suns team is that his near–$18 million salary is set to come off the books next summer. For a team building around 20-somethings like Devin Booker and Josh Jackson, cap space and more assets is never a bad haul, though you wonder if there was a way they could have also come away with one of the Bucks’ more established young pieces.
In the end, Bledsoe was a depreciating asset from the moment he tapped “Tweet,” and the team quickly disassociated itself from him. The Suns have even looked better and more focused without him and former coach Earl Watson around, and now, they’ve at least got something in a return for a disgruntled point guard who likely didn’t fit into their future plans.
Bledsoe, meanwhile, fits the Bucks’ plans to a tee. He provides another possible scorer in crunch time and another long guard for coach Jason Kidd to work with. Depending on Bledsoe’s performance, Milwaukee’s playoff chances, and who the first-round pick winds up becoming, revisionist history might not be so kind to the Bucks. But for now, they’re clearly better than they were yesterday.
This piece was updated after publication.