After a tumultuous couple of weeks, the Phoenix Suns dealt Eric Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, landing Greg Monroe, a 2018 protected first-round pick and a 2018 protected second-round pick in return.
It now appears that tension initially arose between Bledsoe and the Suns at the end of last season when the team elected to shut him down for the last 15 games of the year in an effort to improve their draft position.
"I felt like it was time [to leave], especially when they sat me down last year," Bledsoe acknowledged in a phone interview with Chris Haynes of ESPN after the trade was completed. "It gave me a better picture, a more clearer picture of what I needed to do."
The team suggested that he was dealing with an injury during those games, which irked him. "I was 100 percent healthy then, and I'm 100 percent healthy now," he said.
We now know that Bledsoe met with Suns owner Robert Sarver and general manager Ryan McDonough during the preseason to formally request a trade.
"I felt like with where the team was headed, it was time for me to move on," he explained. "They've got an amazing young talented team and I feel like it was time for me to find a better situation for my career. It had nothing to do with anything the Suns had going on. I made the decision that this was best for me."
At first, Phoenix ignored his request, but when he tweeted his infamous "I don't wanna be here", the media caught wind of the situation and it ballooned. The Suns fined him $10,000 for the tweet, but eventually gave in to his request. He didn't see any time on the floor after he tweeted that out.
It appears as though the ultra-athletic point guard is ready to turn the page on a Bucks team that is currently 4-6, but is stacked with talent in a weak Eastern Conference. He will join the core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Jabari Parker (who will likely return from his ACL injury sometime this season).
"It means a lot to me," the 27-year-old guard told ESPN. "I'm in my prime, and headed to a competitive situation in the Eastern Conference. This is a great time for me and my family. We're looking forward to getting started in Milwaukee. I had a great time in Phoenix, but I'm excited for what's next."
Bledsoe's role with the Bucks is unclear, but it undoubtedly made Milwaukee much stronger.
The Suns didn't receive much in return for Bledsoe, despite the fact that they shopped him for a while. They already mentioned that they will look to trade Monroe, the lone player that they acquired in the deal, as he doesn't fit into their rebuilding plans.