Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler will be traded to Suns in 3-team deal

The Phoenix Suns were quiet on the free agent rumor mill, but now we know they are working the phones on the trade front. General manager Ryan McDonough made his first big splash by agreeing to trade Jared Dudley to the Los Angeles Clippers in return for young point guard Eric Bledsoe and the $8 million, expiring contract of Caron Butler.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the blockbuster deal that centered around the Clippers and their wish to solidify their backcourt. Dudley will join Milwaukee Bucks free agent J.J. Redick in Los Angeles, and the Bucks will in turn receive two second-round draft picks.



According to Paul Coro, the Suns will send Milwaukee the 2014 second-round pick acquired from the Raptors in the Sebastian Telfair trade.

It’s hard to imagine the Suns getting a better deal out of Dudley. To receive one of the most coveted young point guards for a reserve, veteran swingman is impressive, though it does lead to the questions about where the Suns go from here.

Goran Dragic is the fan favorite and perhaps the only must-hold-onto piece of the puzzle. The Suns must find something to do with Kendall Marshall and Archie Goodwin’s Kentucky background as the second-best player on John Calipari’s team — and the lack of experience at the point guard spot — sure seems repetitive next to Bledsoe. Goodwin was overshadowed to a degree by Nerlens Noel. Bledsoe, likewise, played alongside John Wall with the Wildcats and has taken a few years to break in.

But again, it’s hard to complain when the Suns just upgraded in both talent and youth. They also gain more cap flexibility for next summer since Dudley’s contract — and Butler’s — will be off the books.

NBA.com’s David Aldridge reports that Phoenix won’t necessarily look to dump Dragic — and it’s probably believed throughout Suns fans that there’s not reason to.

In Bledsoe, the rebuilding Suns, with new general manager Ryan McDonough and coach Jeff Hornacek, would seem to be expressing dissatisfaction with Goran Dragic, who got a four-year, $30 million free agent deal from Phoenix last summer. Bringing in Bledsoe also does not bode well for last year’s first-round pick, guard Kendall Marshall.

Yet the Suns believe that Bledsoe and Dragic could play together next season, with Bledsoe spending some time off the ball at shooting guard.

Bledsoe is under contract through 2013-14 but is a restricted free agent come next summer.

The deal won’t go official until July 10, when teams can officially sign free agents. That’s because Redick is currently a free agent and must complete a sign-and-trade of a reported four-year, $27 million contract for the entire trade to go down.

Dudley has already thanked the Suns organization and some of the more competent members of past and present.

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