With rumors surfacing that he could be available this offseason, should the Miami Heat entertain a trade for point guard Eric Bledsoe?
When the Miami Heat sent Milwaukee home from the playoffs prematurely, it sent the Bucks franchise into a spiral. Rumors began swirling the second time expired in Game 5 on Tuesday, from Giannis Antetokounmpo, to head coach Mike Budenhozler, all the way to Eric Bledsoe.
The last name mentioned there is the biggest surprise. Antetokounmpo came out and said he would not request a trade this offseason, okay cool. And given the reigning MVP’s absence for the final six quarters of the series, Budenholzer will get another shot to make right next season.
But now, Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required) is saying that the Bucks will likely look into moving Bledsoe this offseason, in hopes of finding a more elite playmaker:
“Rival executives expect the Bucks to prioritize acquiring a playmaker and more shooting in the offseason to retool the roster around Antetokounmpo. Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe is under contract for multiple seasons and had another standout season by earning All-Defensive team honors, but he is expected to become a potential trade candidate, sources told The Athletic.”
It’s not surprising to hear rumors like this coming out of Milwaukee, after underwhelming on a season that had championship expectations. The Bucks front office is going to have to make a significant upgrade to the roster this offseason, assuring Antetokounmpo they’re willing to.
Maybe that starts with Bledsoe, who averaged just 11.8 points on just 33 percent shooting from the field, and 21 percent shooting from deep in four games of the Miami series.
As far as potential suitors, it’s not outlandish to speculate the Heat may have an interest. Above all else, they’re lacking a concrete presence at point guard beyond this season. Veteran Goran Dragic is entering free agency, and Kendrick Nunn’s deal for the 2020-2021 season is non-guaranteed.
As Charania notes, while Bledsoe has struggled offensively, he currently sits in the upper echelon of defensive guards, earning him a place on the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team.
The Miami Heat are boasting one of the best offenses in the playoffs so far, potentially implicating an ability to hide a quality defender on the other end of the ball if needed. But as far as Bledsoe is concerned, the biggest factor in any trade to South Beach is the asking price.
Milwaukee is looking to upgrade, not throw contracts aside for pennies on the dollar. And Miami isn’t in any place to offer up draft capital or young talent for a player who isn’t a sure-fire All-Star.
Bledsoe has had a great season, but his performance in the playoffs doesn’t inspire confidence for the Heat’s championship aspirations. Now, if the Bucks were willing to include a young player and/or draft capital to offload their point guard onto Miami, it’s a different conversation.
Or say they’re willing to take on Andre Iguodala’s 2020-2021 salary, maybe the Heat play ball. But again, at this point, it’s hard to see the Bucks paying anyone to take players off their hands. Not when they’re in a hurry to upgrade their roster before the start of the 2020-2021 season.
Eric Bledsoe finished the regular season averaging 14.9 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.6 rebounds.
The point guard is under contract through the 2022-2023 season, for an average of $18-million annually. He’s a name worth keeping an eye on (if nothing more) for the Miami Heat, given their outlook at the point guard position, and desire to continue upgrading their roster.
Before the Miami Heat can engage in trade talks and potentially upgrade their roster, they’ll have to finish out their playoff run. They’re currently awaiting the results of the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors’ Game 7, which is scheduled for Friday at 9:00 pm EST.