The Phoenix Suns may look into trading a couple of their veterans and perhaps their starting point guard, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
“The Suns will surely listen if and when suitors call for Eric Bledsoe,” Lowe writes. “They’ve explored the possibility of moving off Jared Dudley and Tyson Chandler, sources say, though they likely feel no urgency to dump them; Phoenix remains just under the salary floor.”
On draft night the Nuggets were briefly linked to Bledsoe. The trade, according to Chris Haynes, would have involved Emmanuel Mudiay and the 14th pick that was later traded to the Utah Jazz for Trey Lyles and the draft rights to Tyler Lydon. Bledsoe, 27, averaged 21.1 points and 6.3 assists across 66 games for Phoenix last season.
Dudley was an integral part of Phoenix’s rotation a year ago and averaged 6.8 points per game off the Suns’ bench. Chandler only appeared in 47 games and was shut down in late-March. The 35-year-old hadn’t been a consistent part of the Suns’ rotation since the All-Star break and both veterans don’t figure to be in Phoenix’s long-term plans.
The Suns also recently inked forward T.J. Warren to a four-year, $54 million extension and drafted big men Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender in 2016 — all of whom general manager Ryan McDonough surely wants to see play big minutes this season.
With the league passing fresh lottery reform in an effort to eliminate tanking that’s set to go into effect in 2019, this season is the last year that teams can tank under the same lottery rules that have been in effect for some time. Starting in 2019, the three teams with the league’s worst records will all have an equal 14.0 percent chance at the top pick. Currently, the league’s worst team has a 25 percent chance at the first selection, the second-worst team has a 19.9 percent chance and the third-worst team has a 15.6 percent chance at the No. 1 pick. The odds for the remainder of the lottery will also be more balanced one the changes go into effect under the new rules.
As lottery reform remains on the horizon, non-playoff teams who are still looking to acquire a franchise cornerstone through the draft could look at the 2017-18 season as their last chance to tank with a significant chance for the No. 1 or a top-three pick. Over the last three seasons, the team with the best odds to get the first overall selection entering the lottery have stayed at No. 1 overall.
The Suns, who rested many of their players towards the end of last season, could adopt that line of thinking rather quickly.