Let me see if I can get this straight. First, the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers engaged in a four-player trade. Then the Suns and Bucks engaged in another trade involving one of those four players. And now Clippers and Bucks have made a trade involving another of those four players.
Three teams, three trades, all involving the original four players.
To recap, the Phoenix Suns last summer traded away fan favorite Jared Dudley for the rights to at least one year of a potential All-Star player in Eric Bledsoe, as well as a year of Ish Smith and Slava Kravtsov, who to varying degrees helped the Suns fight all season for a playoff spot.
The Clippers swapped Bledsoe, who would have played real well next to Chris Paul in retrospect, and a one-year rental in Caron Butler for oft-injured J.J. Redick and what turned out to be a more expensive one-year rental in Jared Dudley.
The Bucks, well, are just acquiring usable players for money. I mean, they've basically swapped one-year rentals on Ish Smith and Slava Kravtsov for one-year rentals on the more playable Caron Butler and Jared Dudley. Not bad on a talent swap, but pretty much a "shrugger".
With a twelve month time delay, here's the result of that Dudley trade last summer.
Los Angeles Clippers
In: J.J. Redick
Out: Eric Bledsoe
In: Jared Dudley
Out: rights to J.J. Redick
In: Eric Bledsoe
Out: Jared Dudley
So, the Bucks ended up with Jared Dudley for simply being available for the sign-and-trade of a free agent who was leaving anyway. Why not? Good move for the Bucks, though neither Butler last year nor Dudley this year is a franchise changer.
The Clippers gave up a potential All-Star for the steady J.J. Redick in a solid, four-year contract and shouldabeen starting small forward in Jared Dudley. But if the Clippers had known that Bledsoe could play full-time next to Paul, they might have just decided to stay with Bledsoe. Except that with huge commitments to Paul, Griffin and Jordan they most likely would have had to let Bledsoe walk this summer for nothing. (interesting thought here - if Clippers had let Bledsoe play 32 minutes a game for 43 games - with him missing half-season again - and then it be known they wouldn't match an offer, would Bledsoe have gotten that max contract this summer? Not as easy to answer as you might think)
The Suns, for their part, swapped a role player who was losing minutes for a potential franchise-changing player who certainly contributed to a one-year turnaround from a 25-win team to a 48-win team. In the process, they also got a season of Ish Smith, who filled in admirably for the injured Bledsoe to help keep the Suns alive. But make no mistake, the Suns were the Slash Brothers last year, courtesy of the Dudley trade.
Of course, the Suns coming out the winner in this series of trades depends on their ability to keep Eric Bledsoe. Otherwise, it amounts to a bunch of guys who only stayed with their new team for one year... and J.J. Redick, who was basically a free agent signing.
Still, at minimum, it appears the Suns will get two years of Bledsoe. And that's a darn good haul for Jared Dudley.
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