Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough would part ways with Eric Bledsoe, Dragan Bender and a first-round pick in a deal for disgruntled Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, per Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.
Bledsoe, who has battled injury issues throughout his 7-year NBA career, would offer the Cavaliers a decent replacement for Irving’s scoring ability and playmaking. The 27-year-old combo guard averaged a career high 21.1 points per game last year in 66 contests.
As far as win-now assets, Bledsoe is the only part of this potential deal that would help the Cavaliers win next year. Bender was the No. 4 overall selection in the 2016 draft. The 19-year-old Croatian power forward is certainly oozing with potential, but most talent evaluators view him as a project. The potential pick that the Suns would send to Cleveland is the Heat’s 2018 top-seven protected first-rounder.
Still, this is likely not enough for new Cavs general manager Koby Altman to agree to a deal to send his star point guard to Phoenix. The Cavs have reportedly insisted that the No. 4 pick from this year’s draft, Josh Jackson, be included in any potential Irving deal. However, the Suns will reportedly not include Jackson or coveted second-year shooting guard Devin Booker as part of any offer to Cleveland, making a potential deal extremely difficult.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns are one of six teams to make offers for Irving since reports leaked that the former NBA champion wanted out of Cleveland. The remaining teams that made offers: the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks and Miami Heat.