NBA Trade Talk: Could the Phoenix Suns part ways with Eric Bledsoe?

The athletic guard is out of contract this summer, could Phoenix let him walk or trade him for Kevin Love?

The Phoenix Suns have an important decision to make this summer. Eric Bledsoe is out of contract as a restricted free agent, and may be the subject some big offers from a number of teams.

Bledsoe had an injury-stricken first year in Phoenix, averaging 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds but missing 39 games. Bledsoe was impressive when he played, but while he sat on the bench the Suns never missed a step on the way to a 48-34 record.

Goran Dragic emerged as one of the best point guards in the league last season, and was rewarded with the Most Improved Player award. Dragic is the leader of this team, and his performance saw Bledsoe moved to shooting guard last year.

It is unclear whether Bledsoe is happy to play as a hybrid guard with Dragic in the long term, but he is yet to commit to staying in Phoenix. He was brought to the Suns to be their point guard of the future, but he is unlikely to supplant Dragic any time soon.

There will be plenty of bad teams out there this offseason with cap space to play with. With a free agent class where many of the big names are likely to stay with their current teams, Bledsoe will be one of the biggest names available.

Teams such as Milwaukee, Detroit and Orlando could easily offer Bledsoe max-level contracts, and it may not be in Phoenix's interests to match.

The Suns want to make the next step this season, and they will be encouraged by the fact that they almost made the playoffs without Bledsoe in the lineup for long stretches.

Phoenix has been linked to a trade for Kevin Love, and with three first-round picks in the draft this season they are in position to make the Timberwolves an enticing offer.

Aside from the picks, however, the Suns are short of assets. It appears the only way they could secure the Minnesota big man would be to send them Bledsoe in return.

This offseason and the way they deal with the Bledsoe situation will shape Phoenix's future. They have the opportunity to make a push for the playoffs and to build a contender for years to come, but much will hinge on the young point guard.

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