Eric Bledsoe

Report: Suns discussing trade of Eric Bledsoe to Nuggets

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The Phoenix Suns are rebuilding and they have one good trade chip in their hands — Eric Bledsoe. He remains a very good point guard who could help a lot of teams, and the Suns want young players and/or picks back in any potential deal.

Enter the Denver Nuggets, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

That has potential, depending on what the Suns thing of Emanuel Mudiay. They might prefer Jamal Muray, and also is there someone they like in the 13th pick area.

Of all the wild rumors flying around on draft day, this one makes some of the most sense. For the Suns, they could land a couple of quality young players to go with their No. 4 pick, all of whom can be paired with Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, Alex Len and the rest. For the Nuggets, they get a veteran point guard that helps them look more like a playoff team next season.

That said, teams are talking to everyone about almost everything right now. Whether this one goes through remains to be seen.

Reports: Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Suns all linked to Jimmy Butler trade talks

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The smart money is still on Jimmy Butler starting next season as a Chicago Bull, mostly because Chicago is asking the world for him in a trade.

That doesn’t mean teams will not try.

Tom Thibodeau, who coached and helped develop Butler back in Chicago, has been one knocking on the door, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Interesting note followed from K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Cleveland has been linked to Butler as well, although that may be as a tool to get these other teams to up their offers because both Minnesota and Phoenix have a lot more young players and picks to offer than the Cavaliers. For Cleveland to pull this off, other teams will have to jump in as part of it.

The Celtics are not mentioned here, but you can be sure that call has been made.

The Bulls are doing what they said they would do: listen to offers, but ask for a lot in return. Which gets back to the overall question in Chicago of “what exactly is the long-term plan?” Maybe it’s flexible.

Minnesota has young players such as Zach LeVine, Gorgui Dieng, Tyus Jones and others to put in the mix (only Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins will be completely off limits). They also have picks. The Suns have young players they can throw in such as Marquese Chriss or Tyler Ulis, then they also have veterans who can help the Bulls win more now such as Eric Bledsoe (especially if they draft De'Aaron Fox with the No. 4 pick). The Cavaliers may have to deal Kevin Love, and either way would need to be very creative to pull this off. Something David Griffin has been in the past (whether he has a job in Cleveland after July 1 remains to be seen), but a lot of things need to come together for this to work.

Expect Butler rumors to ramp up around the draft and again as free agency starts, but the ratio of Bulls’ trade rumors to actual Bulls’ trades suggests being patient here. They often talk to everyone, stuff gets leaked, then they choose not to act.

Warriors clinch No. 1 overall seed with win over Suns

AP Photo/Matt York
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PHOENIX (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 42 points and the Golden State Warriors held off the Phoenix Suns 120-111 for their season-high 13th straight win, clinching the best record in the NBA for the third straight season.

Curry scored 23 in the first quarter when the Warriors blew open a 41-18 lead, but the Suns rallied with a 34-17 second quarter and made a game of it from there.

With Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala resting and Kevin Durant one game away from returning from injury, the Warriors still won.

Meanwhile, Devin Booker scored 21, Tyler Ulis 20 and Jared Dudley matched his season high with 19 for the Suns, who tied a franchise record with their 13th straight loss.

Alan Williams scored 16 and grabbed a career-best 17 rebounds for Phoenix.

Golden State became the first team have the NBA’s best record for three consecutive seasons since the Boston Celtics did it in 1983-84, ’84-’85 and ’85-’86. The Warriors, Boston – multiple times – and Philadelphia are the only franchises in NBA history to achieve that feat.

The Warriors also are the first team to win at least 65 games in three straight seasons.

Klay Thompson scored 22 for the Warriors, including a critical late 3-pointer.

With the Spurs’ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors are 65-14, 4 1/2 games ahead of San Antonio. Golden State has three games to play, San Antonio four.

The Warriors raced to that 23-point lead after one quarter, but Phoenix outscored Golden State 34-17 in the second quarter to cut it to 58-52 at the break.

The Suns got it to four twice early in the third quarter and were down just 82-76 after Ronnie Price made two free throws with 1:51 left in the period. But Golden State finished the quarter with a 9-2 run, including five points by Curry, to lead 91-78 entering the fourth.

But the Suns, with the worst record in the West and second-worst in the NBA, didn’t fold.

A 10-0 Phoenix run sliced Golden State’s advantage to 104-101 on Ulis’ 20-footer with 5:01 to play. Curry responded with his eighth and final 3-pointer, but the Suns twice cut it to four again – the last at 109-105 after Ulis made a pair of free throws 2:29 from the finish.

Thompson’s 3, only his second in nine tries, made it 112-107 with 1:46 to play and JaVale McGee‘s rebound dunk put the Warriors ahead 114-107 with 1:34 left. Phoenix twice cut the lead to five before Curry sealed it with a driving layup and two free throws in the final 32.3 seconds.

ALMOST BACK

Kevin Durant is targeting a Saturday night at home against the New Orleans Pelicans for his return from a sprained MCL and bruised thigh.

Durant has missed 19 games since being injured against Washington on Feb. 28.

He will return with three games left in the regular season.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Golden State has beaten Phoenix 10 straight times. … Golden State shot 62 percent (16 of 26) in the first quarter, and 24 percent (5-for-21) in the second.

Suns: Phoenix has not won since deciding to shut down a healthy Eric Bledsoe for the season on March 15. … Rookie Marquese Chriss drew his 10th technical foul. … The 17-point Warriors second quarter tied for the lowest by a Phoenix opponent this season. … With the Lakers’ win, the Suns are 1 1/2 games worse than Los Angeles for the worst record in the West and second-worst in the NBA.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Golden State returns home to face New Orleans on Saturday night, with Durant expected to make his return.

Suns: Phoenix is home Friday night against Oklahoma City, with Russell Westbrook seeking to break the NBA record he shares with Oscar Robertson with a 42nd triple-double this season.

Report: Suns shutting down Eric Bledsoe for rest of season

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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The Suns, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 and Doug Haller of azcentral, are shutting down Eric Bledsoe for the rest of the season.

Bledsoe missed the final few months of last season with a knee injury, so there’s a logic to lightening his load now. Phoenix is also trying to keep up with the tanking Lakers and hold off the Magic for lottery position, which also incentivizes the Suns to sit their best player.

So, needing another guard, Phoenix turned to Brandon Knight, whom coach Earl Watson said would be out of the rotation unless management dictated otherwise. Or at least the Suns tried to turn to Knight.

Gambadoro:

I’m uncomfortable making assumptions about Knight’s health from afar, but the fact that someone Gambadoro found credible made such a claim about Knight is itself troubling. There are clearly deeper issues between Knight and the Suns, which benching him since the trade deadline could have only exacerbated.

With three years and $43,89,375 remaining on his contract, moving Knight will be difficult. Having him around creates complications, but selling low on him – or even attaching an asset to dump him – brings its own set of problems.

Phoenix and Knight need to work out their issues, but that’s far easier said than done.

Isaiah Thomas on Suns trading him to Celtics: “It’s like they gave me a Christmas gift”

AP
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Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas was part of a trade in February of 2015 that sent Tayshaun Prince to the Detroit Pistons, Marcus Thornton and a 2016 1st round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns, and Thomas, Gigi Datome, and Jonas Jerebko to the Boston Celtics.

Reflecting on it two years later, with Thomas one of the most impressive elite offensive talents in the NBA, it appears to be going well for Boston.

Thomas thinks so, too.

If you’ll remember, that Phoenix team had both Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe to compete with. Thomas operated mostly from the bench at 26 minutes a night in a backup role.

Thomas is now firmly part of this year’s MVP race — although he is unlikely to surpass keystone seasons from James Harden and Russell Westbrook — and deservedly so. The Celtics guard has posted career numbers in offensive rating, VORP, win shares, and in more traditional statistics like points, field goal percentage, and 3-point shooting.

The Celtics are the No. 2 seed in the East at the moment. Meanwhile, the Suns are one spot of of last place in the West.