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The valuation of Reggie Jackson makes this just about impossible.
No one knows what the former All-Star contender will do now that he’s healthy. No one knows if his knee tendinitis will flare up again. The Detroit Pistons don’t fully know what to expect. The Phoenix Suns certainly don’t. Jackson himself probably doesn’t.
If a Jackson-for-Eric Bledsoe swap is a possibility, both sides could accept without batting an eye. The Suns could also reasonably turn their nose up at the offer and insist on a first-round pick the Pistons would be hesitant to include.
All this uncertainty is problematic, and that’s not changing anytime soon.
The Orlando Magic can put together a compelling package centered around Elfrid Payton, but that’s too risky a move for a franchise embroiled in an endless rebuild. It can’t guarantee Eric Bledsoe would lead the incumbent troops into the promised land (even the Eastern Conference promised land), and giving up key assets for a two-year rental would be highly problematic.
Bledsoe, who presumably wants to avoid leaving the Suns for another long-term project, will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. That may seem like it’s well off in the future, but how many core pieces does Orlando currently have in place?
Though Nikola Vucevic is off to a torrid start in 2017-18, he’s about to start moving away from his athletic prime. Aaron Gordon still hasn’t proved he can consistently provide positive value and seems insistent upon handling the rock rather than playing to his strengths. Jonathan Isaac seems promising, but his future isn’t exactly guaranteed.
This simply isn’t a situation conductive to trading for a 27-year-old star like Bledsoe.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are basically in the same situation, though the enduring presence of Kristaps Porzingis makes everything slightly more palatable. They’ve already reached out to the Suns about the point guard’s availability, per ESPN.com’s Ian Begley, and one more factor works in their advantage.
“[Jeff Hornace] meant a lot,” Bledsoe said when the ex-head coach of the Suns came back to Phoenix with the visiting Knicks early in the 2016-17 campaign, per AZCentral.com’s Paul Coro. “He let me come out and play my game within the team. He taught us how to play the game the right way.”
That relationship might help satisfy the floor general if New York put together a package for his services centered around first-year guard Frank Ntilikina, but the Knicks are still rebuilding. That fact is unavoidable, and Bledsoe still may not be an ideal fit with their timetable.
San Antonio Spurs
Even though Dejounte Murray has excelled early in the season and the San Antonio Spurs have plenty of options at the point (Murray, Patty Mills, Derrick White and, when healthy, Tony Parker), Bledsoe presents an ideal fit. He could thrive both on and off the ball alongside Kawhi Leonard, even using his length and athleticism to spearhead the defensive charge by aggressively picking up opposing ball-handlers at half court.
So why are they relegated to the realm of dark horses?
Unfortunately for San Antonio, salaries still have to match in deals. The timing of this situation is woeful for them, since they don’t have the pieces necessary to move for Bledsoe without bringing in another team to help facilitate the trade.
Including Mills in a swap isn’t a possibility until mid-January, when restrictions expire on those who signed new deals this past offseason, and that leaves San Antonio cobbling together a package that would basically deplete its depth. That ain’t happening under head coach Gregg Popovich’s supervision.