City Sports Report

Eric Bledsoe To The New York Knicks Is Not A Good Move

eric bledsoe

Eric Bledsoe enjoyed a breakout season for the Phoenix Suns during the 2013-2014 NBA season. The 6’1” guard from Kentucky averaged 17.7 points per game while helping lead the Suns to the brink of the playoffs. Entering this offseason, plenty expected it to be a given that he would return to the Valley of the Sun. But instead of Bledsoe returning willfully on a new deal, the relationship between him and the organization has taken a turn for the worst. Bledsoe, a restricted free agent, turned down a four year, $48 million deal from the Suns this summer because he feels he is a max contract player. As far as the business relationship between the Suns and Bledsoe, it has been reported that he has not spoken to the team much since the season ended. So, this unexpected offseason turn leaves only two options in this scenario. Bledsoe could return to the Suns and sign a qualifying offer for one year with the Suns and become a free agent next offseason or the Suns could try to deal Bledsoe to a team willing to pay him.

Well, it seems like the Suns are exploring the trade option as of this point. The Suns tried (hopelessly) to acquire Kevin Love in a sign-and-trade and derail Love going to Cleveland. That did not work and now another team is being mentioned as a landing spot for Bledsoe: New York. Rumors began to circulate recently that the Knicks were willing to trade guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert and forward Andrea Bargnani to the Suns for the services of Bledsoe. To some Knicks fans this looks like a good deal. You get rid of two would-be free agents (Bargnani is a free agent and Shumpert is a restricted free agent after this season) and an enigmatic player in Smith. But making this trade does not make any sense for the Knicks.

Bledsoe, by his height, is a point guard. He has shown that he is capable of running the show at the point guard position. But looking over his numbers from last season, he definitely regressed in the ball-handling department. In 2012-2013, Bledsoe was a sparkplug off the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged 8.5 points per game and committed 1.8 turnovers while averaging 3.1 assists per game. He was traded to the Suns this past season, and he shined as a scorer for them. But along with excelling in the scoring department, he became careless with the basketball. Bledsoe went from 1.8 to 3.3 turnovers a game in one season. As a small guard, that is an alarming rate. If he comes to New York, he will eventually be asked to play some point guard in their offense. If he is to do so, Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher will want to make sure that he is careful with the basketball. According to the spike in his turnover rate, it indicates that he may be better suited to play off the ball. And at 6’1”, that will definitely be an issue.

Another big caution in the Bledsoe trade will be his health. Bledsoe has been a dynamic player on the court when he has been there. For example, check out this fantastic play when he was a member of the Los Angeles Clippers:

His athletic ability is truly special. But what is alarming about him is that it’s not constantly displayed on the court. Over his career, Bledsoe has never played a full season. In fact, the closest he came to playing a full season was his rookie year, when he played 81 games. Does that sound like someone that you would want to put max money into potentially? Bledsoe is currently coming off surgery for torn cartilage in his knee and that has to be a concern. Any time an explosive athlete has knee surgery, there is always the possibility that they could not ever be the same player they were. For example, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose tore his ACL in one knee and his meniscus in the other in consecutive seasons. And to date, no one is sure if he will be the same MVP-caliber player he was before the injuries. Bledsoe is the same type of explosive athlete as Rose. And although he has not had multiple knee injuries like Rose, the concern definitely has to be there about his injuries.

Bledsoe, for as talented as he is, can be a risky proposition for the Knicks. The turnovers and health issues are nothing to play with, especially when you’re talking about giving a player millions of dollars to be your second option. And to add to it, there is no guarantee his skill will fit in the Triangle offense the Knicks are expected to run. This may be a trade the Knicks need to pass on. Bledsoe could be a potential rising star in the NBA. But in the end, he is not a good fit for the Knicks.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

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