The Phoenix Suns don't have much leverage in their efforts to trade disgruntled point guard Eric Bledsoe given the publicity of their feud, but general manager Ryan McDonough has also made it clear that the Suns are in no hurry to make a deal. They're willing to continue playing games while Bledsoe sits at home until they find something they believe is worthwhile.
To that end, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Friday that the Suns are exploring ways to include veteran center Tyson Chandler in a deal involving Bledsoe.
As the Suns seek a new home via trade for Eric Bledsoe, they've explored trying to move Tyson Chandler in the same deal, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 27, 2017
The report itself is a bit vague -- we would assume the Suns are welcome to the idea of including pretty much everyone on their roster at this point, with the possible exceptions being 20-year-old Devin Booker and rookie Josh Jackson. But the idea of adding Chandler to the deal is intriguing, because it could change the whole structure of the trade.
Because Bledsoe's contract is manageable for most teams at $14.5 million this season and $15 million next season, a traditional two-team trade would generally work perfectly. But now that the Suns could involve Chandler and the remaining two years and $26.5 million on his contract, that would pretty much exclude any contender from being able or willing to complete the deal.
Enter team No. 3.
This is where a rebuilding team like Atlanta or Chicago could step in and willingly absorb Chandler's contract to help facilitate a Bledsoe deal in exchange for a first-round pick or a young asset. Here's an example of how this might work:
Milwaukee Bucks receive:
Phoenix Suns receive:
Chicago Bulls receive:
- Milwaukee Bucks' 2018 first-round pick
The Bucks might not be willing to give up a first-round pick for Bledsoe, but taking on Chandler's salary would be a non-starter. Perhaps they add protections to the pick or make it for a future year. The point is, they have options with a third team joining the mix.
The Bledsoe trade is an interesting one, because it could potentially change the face of the playoff picture in whichever conference he ends up playing in. The fact that the Suns want to include Chandler in the deal doesn't kill the trade at all -- as long as a third team is willing to step in and take on salary in exchange for a future asset.