NBA Rumors: Phoenix Suns May Look To Trade Either Brandon Knight Or Eric Bledsoe

The Phoenix Suns have a plethora of guards on their roster and they could alleviate the issue by trading one of their lead guards, according to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports.

Phoenix has gone through a rough patch the last six years, which includes going 23-59 last season, the worst record since the franchise’s inaugural season in 1968-69 and second worst in their history. The Suns have not made the playoffs since the 2009-10 season, though they won 48 games in 2013-14, finishing ninth in the Western Conference.

There are some silver linings for the Suns, as they have been able to accumulate some strong talent such as Devin Booker, Alex Len, Marquese Chriss, Dragen Bender, and T.J. Warren. The bad news is that sometimes players develop faster than expected and teams find themselves unexpectedly overloaded at a particular position.

That is exactly what has happened to Phoenix at the point guard position. The Suns currently have three players with the capability of playing starters minutes at the point guard position. Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, and Booker could all start. Throw in Leandro Barbosa, Warren, P.J. Tucker, Archie Goodwin, and Jared Dudley, and the Suns will have to be creative to give everyone in their back-court an opportunity for playing time. Bledsoe is the Suns’ best player, as long as the torn meniscus in his left knee that he suffered last year does not limit his athleticism.

Bledsoe was primed for a career year in 2015-16 before getting injured in late December. The 26-year-old was averaging 20.2 points, 6.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals through 31 games when he was shelved for the rest of the season. He was shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from beyond the arc, as well as 80.2 percent from the charity stripe.

Bledsoe thrives in pick-and-roll situations and is a great finisher at the rim. The 26-year-old is a very good playmaker and distributor as well as a shutdown defender. He is an inconsistent outside shooter, however.

Bledsoe has averaged double-figures in each of the past three seasons. The six-foot-one combo guard inked a five-year, $70 million deal in September 2014.

Knight has been an enigma since being taken with the eighth overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft out of Kentucky.

Knight has always been an extreme talent and an elite scorer, though he just started putting everything together last year. The 24-year-old produced his first triple-double and tied a career-high with four double-doubles in 2015-16 despite being limited to 52 games. He finished the season averaging a career-high 19.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 41.5 percent from the field and 34.2 percent on his three-point attempts. However, the six-foot-three point guard only had a 1.47 assist-to-turnover ratio and his scoring efficiency of 1.13 was below his career average.

Knight likes to attack the rim off the dribble and excels in pick-and-roll situations. He is also considered a far superior shooter than Bledsoe, though the numbers don’t back that up. Knight has a career shooting efficiency of.481 compared to Bledsoe’s career shooting efficiency of.484. Also, Knight has not produced a shooting efficiency rating above.500 in any of his five seasons in the NBA and he struggles on the defensive end.

Knight signed a five-year, $70-million contract with the Suns in July 15, 2015.

Booker was seen as project last year and was not expected to see a ton of action after spending just one season at Kentucky. The 19-year-old, who was chosen with the No. 13 pick in the 2015 draft by Phoenix, was thrust into a starting role when Bledsoe and Knight went down with injuries.

Booker showed his inexperience and youthfulness early in the season but developed into a real scoring and playmaking threat following the All-Star break. The six-foot-six guard averaged 19.2 points and 4.1 assists post-All-Star break to finish the season averaging 13.8 points and 2.6 assists while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 34.3 percent on his three-point attempts.

Booker is a pure shooter with tremendous athletic ability. He has three years left on his rookie contract.

The good news is that Bledsoe, Knight, and Booker have the ability to play together with Bledsoe playing at shooting guard and Booker at small forward. However, there are serious defensive concerns with that backcourt configuration, which is likely why the Suns will start rim protectors Tyson Chandler and Alex Len in the front-court.

In order for the trio to be effective, they each need to be on the floor 30-to-32 minutes a game. That is where the problem could manifest, as the Suns also will need to find sufficient court time for Warren, Dudley, and Barbosa.

Warren was having a solid season last year until a broken foot ended his campaign prematurely. The six-foot-eight forward contributed 11.0 points and 3.1 rebounds over 22 minutes of action in 47 contests. He shot 50.1 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from long distance.

Dudley is coming off one of the best seasons of his nine-year career, compiling 7.9 points along with 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game. He also shot 47.8 percent from the floor and 42.0 percent from long distance. Dudley can play both shooting guard and small forward.

Barbosa is back where he began his career. The 33-year-old has spent eight of his 12 NBA seasons in the Valley of the Sun. He was with the Golden State Warriors over the last two years.

Barbosa lightninging quick and has the ability to put up points in bunches off the bench. He is a good shooter who has averaged 11.0 points and made 46.0 percent of his shots from the field as well as 38.8 percent of his three-point attempts.

It will be interesting to see what the Suns ultimately do and how head coach Earl Watson divides up the playing time.

[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

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