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Report: Eric Bledsoe And Suns Make Progress On Contract Extension

After playing 43 games for the Suns last season and averaging career highs in points, assists and minutes per game, Eric Bledsoe thought his restricted free agency would bring a max offer. That hasn’t happened so far and Phoenix’s four-year, $48 million offer (on par with what the Raptors gave Kyle Lowry) was rejected while placing a wedge between what the team thinks he’s was and what Bledsoe’s team believes. Yet, despite the acrimony between the two sides, a report from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnaworski says they’re back at the negotiating table and getting closer to an extension.

Bledsoe’s reps refused to negotiate following Phoenix’s four-year, $48 million offer in July, a deal that many executives felt was more than fair for the former backup of Chris Paul who only appeared in 43 games for the Suns as a starter last season. the Timberwolves attempted to sign him to a max extension in a sign-and-trade, but the Suns didn’t have any interest and the ‘Wolves didn’t have the cap room to offer a max offer sheet. Bledsoe’s reps even threatened to sign the $3.7 million qualifying offer to take his chances next summer as an unrestricted free agent.

Now, it seems the Suns have upped their offer to the $50 million range on that four-year deal and the sides are expected to announce an extension some time before training camp. Via Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, comes the news:

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and Bledsoe’s representatives with Klutch Sports have gathered momentum in discussions over the past two to three days, and Wednesday is expected to be crucial in the push for the sides to finalize a deal, league sources said.

[…]

The Suns are believed to have pushed an initial four-year, $48 million offer into the $50 million range, sources said.

If Bledsoe is getting offered $50 million over four years following a second meniscus injury and surgery, plus just half a season as a starter, he has to grab the cash or risk losing it all by signing that qualifying offer. Maybe it was Minnesota’s interest that led Suns GM Ryan McDonough to up his offer a couple million, but we don’t think Bledsoe is the same player as Lowry and the four-year, $48 million the latter signed earlier this summer seems about fair for their franchise point guard.

Next summer, Bledsoe’s backcourt mate in coach Jeff Hornacek‘s high octane offense, Goran Dragic, has said he’ll opt out of the final year of his deal to become an unrestricted free agent, but also intimated (lots can get lost in translation) he wanted to re-sign quickly for whatever his new market worth might be.

If Dragic makes another All-NBA team (he was an All-NBA Third Team selection last year but wasn’t nominated for an all-star berth — though he should have been), that could mean a financial windfall for him in free agency, with offers close to, or at, the max range Bledsoe expected.

The Suns have plenty of money and don’t have many players signed through the 2015-16 season, expect for free agent acquisition, point guard Isaiah Thomas. If they get Bledsoe extended on a reasonable rate (not that we think $50 million over four years is all that reasonable) they should have enough to re-sign Dragic when he opts out.

Is four years and $50 million too much for Bledsoe?

Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.

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