Deal for Bledsoe, Butler Leaves All Parties Happy
Lon Babby was effusive. Ryan McDonough was pleased. Jeff Hornacek was eager. Eric Bledsoe was determined. Caron Butler was professional and funny at the same time.
Yes, the press conference reactions were different for everyone who played a part in the Suns’ trade that landed Bledsoe and Butler in Phoenix, but they all agreed on one thing.
Everyone got what they wanted, especially the Suns’ organization.
“This trade that we finished [Wednesday] was really one of the rare transactions where I think everybody, all three teams, benefitted,” said President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby, before smiling. “But we really got what we wanted, and we’re delighted by it.”
Make no mistake, the newly acquired players got what they wanted, too. Promising guard Eric Bledsoe, by all indications, will receive the playing time he craves.
“Frankly, he’s a guy every team in the league was trying to get,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “We’re thrilled to be able to get him here. We think that with more minutes, more of an opportunity here, with the way coach wants to play, he’ll flourish in this environment.”
Bledsoe is just as eager for the opportunity.
“It’s definitely a plus for me,” Bledsoe said. “Unfortunately I couldn’t play as much as I wanted (in Los Angeles), because I was playing behind an All-Star. Now Ryan’s got confidence in me and I’ve got full confidence in myself to make some big things happen here. It’s a big blessing.”
If the press conference is any indication, Butler will add plenty of professionalism and humor, qualities any team can use. That’s not even taking into account his considerable skills on the floor.
Butler was full of sincerity, however, when talking about Bledsoe’s talents, saying he “more than held his own” against the likes of Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul during practices with the Clippers. Now, Bledsoe and the Suns mutually echo Butler’s words when passing the question-answer session over to Bledsoe on Wednesday.
“Your turn, young fella,” Butler said.
McDonough and Hornacek were equally excited at the prospect of seeing Bledsoe and current Suns guard Goran Dragic play together, regardless of their similar pasts as the primary playmakers while on the floor.
“They’re both tough, athletic, competitive guys who like to get out and run in transition and push the ball,” McDonough said. “I think they’ll play together great.”
Hornacek already has an idea of how that will happen.
“As a coach I’m just envisioning Eric and Goran pushing the ball up the court, creating those 4-on-3, 3-on-2 opportunities,” Hornacek said. “Caron’s knocking down threes and jump shots, our bigs are rolling to the basket. I think it’s a great addition with these two guys.”
Bledsoe likely summed up the feelings of everyone in the room, repeating the same mantra several times throughout the conference.
“I’m excited to get started,” Bledsoe said. “I’m just ready to start playing.”