The Eric Bledsoe saga is almost over. It’s conclusion, though, might be far different than most anyone imagined. According to multiple reports, the Minnesota Timberwolves have engaged the Phoenix Suns in sign-and-trade talks involving the disgruntled restricted free agent, who would sign a four-year, max-level contract with the ‘Wolves if the sides can reach an agreement.
The news was first reported by Jude LaCava of FOX 10 in Phoenix.
With just days before the start of training camp, the Minnesota Timberwolves are making a final push to acquire restricted free-agent guard Eric Bledsoe in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns, sources told ESPN.com.
The Wolves are offering Bledsoe the four-year, $63 million maximum-level contract that he has been seeking, sources said…
Bledsoe maintained all summer long that he would sign a one-year qualifying offer with Phoenix if his desired contract offer never came. He’s yet to do so and is thus still eligible to sign with any team he chooses, but Minnesota is over the salary cap – that’s why all of this hinges on the Suns’ cooperation. It’s unknown which Timberwolves players and assets Phoenix desires, but it’s crucial to remember that Minny must send back enough salary to placate league trade rules before any deal can be completed.
Bledsoe would make an intriguingly talented, if flawed, backcourt with Ricky Rubio in Minnesota this season. The ‘Wolves are in relatively contentious extension negotiations of their own with the Spanish star, too. If the Rubio-Bledsoe pairing proves ill-fated, Minnesota could simply let the former walk as a restricted free agent next summer, knowing it already has its point guard of the future in-house.
However, this late-breaking story might not have the legs it appears. Associated Press NBA writer John Krawczynski, based in Minneapolis, says the ‘Wolves are focusing on Rubio extension negotiations as opposed to Bledsoe discussions. Perhaps more important, Minnesota apparently doesn’t have the trade assets Phoenix craves.
It’s vexing that the Suns would play hard-ball with regard to Bledsoe. His relationship with the team is all but fractured entirely, and if he signs a QO it basically ensures that he would leave in free agency next summer. With a legitimate trade partner emerging so late in the game, Phoenix would do best to cut its losses and take what it could get for Bledsoe. And conversely, Minnesota should negotiate under those assumptions.
We’ll keep you apprised as this story continues to develop.
Is Bledsoe a good fit in Minnesota?
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