A strange aspect of Tuesday's three-team trade among the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks was the emotional aspect that resulted.

The deal saw the Clippers bolster their wings with shooters J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley. The Suns landed guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Caron Butler. And it had had implications that reached beyond the basketball court.

In Phoenix, fans came to love Dudley's regular-guy persona. A segment of Clippers fans got hooked on the skittish potential presented by Bledsoe, equal parts erratic and exciting.

It is, ultimately, Bledsoe who will be this trade's barometer. Anyone who watched him play over the past three years has at varying times had their jaws dropped by his raw athleticism and gut instinct, and has had to furrow a brow and grit teeth over the mistakes that come attached to his high-wire style.

Until now, we only saw Bledsoe in fits and starts. Or, rather, not starts — in three seasons, Bledsoe started 38 games. Even last season, as Bledsoe put up the kind of numbers on a per-36-minute basis (14.9 points, 5.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 1.3 blocks) that made the advanced-stat crowd woozy with delight, coach Vinny Del Negro was reluctant to indulge Bledsoe's negatives in exchange for his positives. Del Negro played him 20.4 minutes per game.

But opponents have long been fascinated by what Bledsoe could do if given free reign. That was why, when the discussions between the Boston Celtics and Clippers involving Kevin Garnett first cropped up last winter, it was Bledsoe who was the Celts' chief target, more so than big man DeAndre Jordan. It's worth noting that new Suns general manager Ryan McDonough had been in the Celtics' front office at that time.