Report: Bledsoe, Suns Still At Crossroads

By: 07.17.14
Eric Bledsoe

Eric Bledsoe (Joe Camporeale, USATODAY)

Eric Bledsoe is arguably the league’s top available talent, but the slow-moving market for his services has barely churned since the dominoes of free agency finally started falling last week. And according to ESPN, Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns remain far apart in contract talks that would keep the restricted free agent in the desert for the long-haul.

The update is courtesy of ESPN’s Chris Broussard.

The future of one of the most talented free agents left on the market remains cloudy, as Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns remain far apart in contract talks, according to sources close to the situation.

Bledsoe’s representatives have been engaged in discussions with Phoenix, but the Suns’ offer is far below what Bledsoe is looking for…

The thought that the Suns will match any offer Bledsoe receives from a competing club has deterred teams from aggressively pursuing the 24-year-old point guard. Phoenix has thus far refused to discuss potential sign-and-trade opportunities.

But the Suns’ completion of a sign-and-trade deal for Isaiah Thomas, along with the drafting of point guard Tyler Ennis, has potential suitors believing that Phoenix may move on from Bledsoe, league sources said.

It’s no secret that Bledsoe desires a max contract. By floating news that they’d match any offer sheet he signs with another team, it appears Phoenix has dissuaded suitors from tying up their cap flexibility for 72 hours by inking Bledsoe if only to have him return to the Suns. It’s also unclear whether or not Bledsoe would receive the rich deal he seeks even if that mitigating circumstance wasn’t a factor. He’s a talented two-way player and enjoyed a breakout season with Phoenix in 2013-2014, but the league is saturated with high-quality point guards and Bledsoe’s offensive ceiling is still a mystery.

That the Suns drafted Ennis and signed Thomas isn’t necessarily an indicator that they’re prepared part ways with Bledsoe if his financial demands deem that the route most prudent, either. Jeff Hornacek played Bledsoe and Goran Dragic together for 885 minutes in the 38 instances both players were available last season, almost exactly half of each game on average. Phoenix’s offensive system stresses pick-and-rolls and penetration from its guards above all else, and the size of both Bledsoe and Dragic allows them to defend wings. Plus, getting a player of Thomas’ caliber for such a discounted rate is always a boon – the Suns’ surplus of assets is even bigger now. Ennis accounts for that, too, and seems primed for D-League time during his rookie year anyway.

Whether they aim to keep him at all costs or not, there’s just no rush for the Suns with regard to Bledsoe. No players of his considerable merit have accepted a qualifying offer in the case of a stalemate like this one, and Bledsoe surely won’t be the first to do so.

Odds are still that Bledsoe and the Suns will come to an amenable agreement on a multi-year deal in the coming days or even weeks. The question now is if he’ll agree to an offer sheet with another team before then and force Phoenix’s hand.

Should the Suns retain Bledsoe?

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