Pump the brakes, Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves fans. The latest report has Eric Bledsoe staying put.
The Phoenix Suns have no interest in sign-and-trade discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves involving restricted free-agent guard Eric Bledsoe, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Suns would want an All-Star – or potential All-Star – in return for Bledsoe and had only considered Kevin Love in a possible sign-and-trade scenario with the Timberwolves, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
League trade rules make a potential Bledsoe deal far less intriguing for the Suns than it appears on the surface. Each total salary being exchanged in this deal must come within a certain negligible margin of the other, and Bledsoe’s prospective contract with Minnesota – four-years, $63 million – means the Suns would have to take back several bad contracts from the ‘Wolves to satisfy that stipulation.
Teams in Phoenix’s position frequently yield those poor contracts in deals of this nature, but its trade partner always includes a sweetener, too. Coincidentally, the Timberwolves already owe the Suns a protected first-round pick in the upcoming draft via a previous transaction, and are thus currently prohibited from trading another first-rounder until 2018 under the Stepien Rule. It bears mentioning that the teams could discuss removing protections on the Wolves’ pick currently owed to Phoenix, but apparently not even that would be enough.
Suns own Wolves 2015 first round pick but it's top 12 protected. Removing or reducing protection could be part of Bledsoe talks.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) September 19, 2014
Wojanrowski writes that the Suns want a star in return for Bledsoe. Despite the highly contentious nature of contract negotiations between he and the team, Phoenix can still offer Bledsoe more money in unrestricted free agency next summer than any competitor. Given that reality, the Suns might be clinging to hope that their relationship with the dynamo guard isn’t irreparably fractured after all.
If this report is to believed, Bledsoe will remain in limbo with Phoenix. Keep a watchful, though. As today has shown, these things tend to progress – or regress – rather quickly.
What do you think?
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