Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe has become a trade target after general manager Ryan McDonough told reporters Monday that Bledsoe has likely played his final game for the franchise.
The New York Knicks are among several teams reaching out to Phoenix, league sources told ESPN. It is unclear how far along teams have gotten on any trade discussions, but people in touch with Phoenix say the franchise is looking for young players in a Bledsoe swap.
The Suns have asked about young Knicks such as 2017 first-round pick Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez, sources confirm, but New York has been opposed to trading either young player, sources told ESPN.
Hernangomez has not been in coach Jeff Hornacek’s regular rotation in the first two games of the season, which has left the second-year center frustrated. But Hernangomez’s lack of playing time isn’t a sign the club is looking to move him.
Hernangomez, who is close friends with Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis, has lost his spot in the rotation behind centers Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn.
O’Quinn, Lance Thomas and Courtney Lee have drawn interest from opposing teams in recent weeks, but it is unclear if any of the three players were discussed by New York and Phoenix. Ntilikina, selected No. 8 by the Knicks in June's draft, has been slowed by injury early in his career. He will miss his second regular-season game Tuesday due to an ankle injury and he missed New York’s final four preseason games due to a knee ailment.
But the point guard remains part of the young core New York wants to build around and management, as of Monday afternoon, did not want to move him in a Bledsoe deal. Given that reluctance, it seems like the Knicks are a long-shot to trade for Bledsoe, who would be an upgrade over current Knicks starting point guard Ramon Sessions.
Hornacek, of course, is familiar with Bledsoe, having coached him in Phoenix for two-plus seasons. Bledsoe, 27, is under contract for the next two seasons, making a combined $29.5 million.
The Suns’ interest in Hernangomez and Ntilikina was first reported by Basketball Insiders.