The Bucks are reportedly pulling off a stellar trade for Eric Bledsoe that could catapult them into contention in the Eastern Conference

  • The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns reportedly agreed to a trade to send Eric Bledsoe to the Bucks.
  • The Bucks gave up little in exchange and could benefit from Bledsoe's length, athleticism, and scoring to take pressure off Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • With few standout teams in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks could now be contenders


The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns are finalizing a deal that would send point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Bucks for backup center Greg Monroe and a future first-round pick, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.

The deal comes while Bledsoe has been in exile from the team after reportedly expressing interest in being traded. He's played just three games this season.

If the deal goes through it looks like a stellar one for the Bucks. The Bucks lose an offensive-minded center in Monroe, and giving up a first-round pick is always risky, but a healthy Bledsoe could bring the Bucks to another level in the East.

22 PHOTOS
Major moves from the 2017 NBA offseason
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Major moves from the 2017 NBA offseason

Kyrie Irving: Traded to Boston Celtics

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder: Traded to Cleveland Cavaliers

(Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony: Traded to Oklahoma City Thunder

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Dwyane Wade: Signed with Cleveland Cavaliers

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Avery Bradley: Traded to Detroit Pistons

(Photo by Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Marcus Morris: Traded to Boston Celtics

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Tim Hardaway Jr.: Signed with New York Knicks

(Photo by Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Vince Carter: Signed with Sacramento Kings

(Photo by Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Gordon Hayward: Signed with Boston Celtics

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

Paul George: Traded to Oklahoma City Thunder

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Rudy Gay: Signed with San Antonio Spurs

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Kelly Olynyk: Signed with Miami Heat

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Nick Young: Signed with Golden State Warriors

(Photo by Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Chris Bosh: Waived by Miami Heat

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Paul Millsap: Traded to Denver Nuggets

(Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Zach Randolph: Signed with Sacramento Kings

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

J.J. Redick: Signed with Philadelphia 76ers

(Photo by Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Ricky Rubio: Traded to Utah Jazz

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Chris Paul: Traded to Houston Rockets

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

Jimmy Butler: Traded to Minnesota Timberwolves

(Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Dwight Howard: Traded to Charlotte Hornets

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Last season, Bledsoe averaged 21 points per game on 43% shooting with 4.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. While the Suns were one of the worst teams in the league, the stat line puts Bledsoe in elite company:

The move could drastically help Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has taken his game to another level this season, but is currently the key focus of opposing defenses. Antetokounmpo is currently third in the NBA in usage percentage and second in field-goal attempts per game. The Bucks could ease the burden on Antetokounmpo by playing him off the ball more next to Bledsoe, and vice versa, as Antetokounmpo could help Bledsoe be more of a scorer.

Bledsoe also fits the Bucks' overall scheme. As ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz broke down, the Bucks have built a foundation of long, versatile players in hopes that length and athleticism could give them a natural physical edge over opponents as their young talent develops. Bledsoe is 6-foot-1 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and one of the more explosive guards in the NBA.

That the Bucks didn't give up any players of tremendous value helps, also. They kept Rookie of the Year guard Malcolm Brogdon, whose length, defense, and shooting is key next to Antentokounmpo; they kept long, rangy wings and bigs like Khris Middleton, Tony Snell, and Thon Maker; and they didn't give up Jabari Parker, who is making his way back from a second ACL tear. The Bucks maintained their depth and increased their overall talent.

While trading first-round picks can be risky, Bledsoe has great value for the Bucks. He has another year left on his contract after this season (for $15 million), and the chances of a late first-round pick (assuming the Bucks make the playoffs) contributing more to the win-now Bucks than Bledsoe are low.

The East currently has no standout teams. The Celtics are on a roll, but they're without Gordon Hayward and relying on big production from young players. The Wizards look improved, but just lost to the Cavaliers, who have been one of the worst teams in the league this season. The Cavs, of course, will always be in the conversation for Eastern title contenders because of LeBron James, but they have never looked more vulnerable. This could be the Bucks' time to make a move, and there is still room to grow.

31 PHOTOS
Projected win totals for each NBA team
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Projected win totals for each NBA team

Chicago Bulls: 20-24.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns: 25-29.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets: 25-29.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings: 25-29.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks: 25-29.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers: 30-34.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Orlando Magic: 30-34.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Indiana Pacers: 30-34.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks: 30-34.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans: 35-39.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons: 35-39.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Memphis Grizzlies: 35-39.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks: 35-39.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Clippers: 40-44.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Jay Metzger/NBAE via Getty Images)
Miami Heat: 40-44.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets: 40-44.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers: 40-44.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers: 40-44.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Utah Jazz: 40-44.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Minnesota Timberwolves: 45-49.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors: 45-49.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards: 45-49.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Milwaukee Bucks: 45-49.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets: 45-49.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs: 50-54.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers: 50-54.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Oklahoma City Thunder: 50-54.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Boston Celtics: 55-59.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets: 55-59.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors: 65-69.5 wins

Via Bovada

(Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
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