PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Last Thursday, new Phoenix Suns' general manager Ryan McDonough surprised many by taking center Alex Len with the fifth overall pick in the NBA Draft. Now, McDonough has made a move that brings in a potential young star to add to pair with his new big man.
As first reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns are part of a three-team deal that netted them point guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Caron Butler from the Los Angeles Clippers. Heading out of Phoenix are forward Jared Dudley, on his way to the Clippers, and a second round pick going to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks also get a another second-round pick from the Clippers, who take on former Buck J.J. Redick.
Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler will go to the Suns, Jared Dudley and JJ Redick to the Clippers and 2 2nd-round picks to Bucks, sources tell Y— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2013
The centerpiece of this deal from a Suns' perspective is the 6-foot-1 Bledsoe. Just 23, he has served as Chris Paul's backup for the past two seasons, and is viewed by many as a potential star in the making. He is coming off his best season as a pro, averaging 8.5 points, 3.1 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He shot a career-best 44.5-percent from the field, and 39.7-percent from three-point range.
Butler, a two-time All-Star, was a valuable player for the Clippers in 2012-2013, averaging 10.4 points and 2.9 rebound per game while making 78 starts. The 6-foot-7 forward has one season remaining on his current contract.
To get these pieces, the Suns parted with arguably their most popular player in Dudley. Originally acquired from the Charlotte Bobcats in December of 2008, Dudley's energy and worth ethic have allowed him to develop into one of the NBA's better defenders and three-point shooters. Last season, Dudley played in 69 games (50 starts), averaging 10.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 39.1-percent beyond the arc.
Dudley, a San Diego native, is excited for the homecoming.
I can't lie, I'm excited to play close to home!!! If I had to go to any team It would be the clippers!! Time to get work!!!— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) July 2, 2013
The move is a big win for both Dudley and the Clippers, says 3TV's Sports Director Tim Ring:
Jared Dudley’s talents are best suited to be a role player on a team with championship aspirations. His abilities get lost on a team that’s rebuilding like the Suns. He’ll be far more effective and happy as a basketball player with a team like the Clippers where he’ll be reunited with his former head coach and current Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry.
In almost 25 years being in the business of covering sports, I’ve never met an athlete as gifted and adept at handling the media as Jared Dudley. Suns fans will miss Dudley but the media will miss him more.
By acquiring Bledsoe, the door is now open to the possibility that McDonough could deal current starting point guard Goran Dragic, as the team continues the rebuilding process. With the team also drafting point guard Archie Goodwin in the first round of last week’s draft, it appears last year’s first-round pick Kendall Marshall isn’t a part of the Suns future.