The NBA’s early-season soap opera is not the chemistry experiment in Oklahoma City or the other chemistry experiment in Houston Rockets, but the hazmat site that is the Phoenix Suns.
The team fired its coach after just three games, and its 27-year-old point guard tweeted out that he didn’t want to be there, presumably Phoenix, anymore. That’s sparked a lot of haircut conspiracies and, more importantly, trade rumors.
Phoenix hasn’t been very satisfied with said trade offers just yet, but they’re not in a very powerful position given how everyone on the Internet knows Bledsoe wants out of Phoenix. That must be frustrating for a general manager, and the Suns general manager expressed said frustration on Tuesday.
Suns GM Ryan McDonough appeared on the radio in Phoenix and, according to ESPN, questioned his point guard’s leadership and the role his agent has played in this early-season drama.
“I was certainly surprised by it and disappointed by it,” McDonough said. “I think Eric’s a good person. I think he’s unfortunately gotten some bad advice and is listening to the wrong people. I think generally, any time you sign a contract, it doesn’t only work one way. It works both ways, and for a guy with years on his contract to say or intimate he didn’t want to be here anymore, I didn’t find that to be appropriate, and I think if he says he wants to be a leader, that’s the opposite of what a leader does and the opposite of what leadership is. So I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
McDonough’s criticisms of Bledsoe as a leader probably won’t do much to help his already disappointing trade value, but the frustration is palpable in Phoenix. No one is happy with how it’s going, and the Suns GM clearly thinks it’s being made worse by Bledsoe’s agent, Rich Paul.
“I think, just my opinion, the shift comes from contractual demands made by his representatives,” McDonough said of Bledsoe’s desire to move on, “and that’s what I was referring to when I said I think he got bad advice.”
Later in the interview, McDonough tripled down on his criticisms of Bledsoe’s representation: “[Eric’s] a talented player and a good player, but like I said, I think he’s just being a little bit misguided at the moment with some of the advice he’s getting.”
McDonough said he’s gotten a number of phone calls about Bledsoe, and he’s fine with a deal happening “sooner rather than later” but it didn’t sound like anything was exactly pending just yet. That sets up a potential for a long season in Phoenix. Well, longer than it was already going to feel.