Eric Bledsoe is a talented young player who happens to be a restricted free agent. I expected him to resign with the Phoenix Suns already but they are very far apart in contract talks.
Bledsoe spent his first three seasons backing up Chris Paul in Los Angeles. He played the most games of his career during his rookie year, where he played in 81 games while starting 25. The following year he was limited to 40 games and then he bounced back to 76 games.
Last year he traded to the Phoenix Suns and got a chance to start in the backcourt alongside Goran Dragic. The Suns were the surprise team in the league as they managed to win 48 games. Bledsoe and Dragic worked well together but Bledsoe could not stay healthy.
He only managed to play in 43 games, starting in 40 of them. Statistically he had his best season because he was finally a starter. He again battled injuries and required knee surgery. The Suns were very good when he and Dragic played together but they still continued to win without Bledsoe.
As a restricted free agent the Suns could match any offer Bledsoe received. The Suns really want Bledsoe and Dragic together. They said they would match any offer Bledsoe received. However Bledsoe did not get any offers. I expected the Lakers to at least throw some money at him but he did not get anything.
Bledsoe finally got a 4 year, $48 million dollar offer from the Suns. This is the same offer Kyle Lowry got from the Toronto Raptors. Bledsoe rejected the offer because he is looking for a 5 year, $84 million dollar contract. I know Bledsoe is young (24) and has a great upside but he should have taken the Suns offer.
I can understand Bledsoe’s thought process during free agency. He believes he is one of the great young talents in the league. He is an explosive point guard who plays defense. However the fact that he can’t stay healthy hurts him during this process. If he was averaging 75 games a season maybe the Suns would take a chance on him with that $84 million dollar contract.
Bledsoe is considering taking the Suns qualifying offer for $3.73 million dollars. This would be a pay increase from last year but there is a risk-reward with this deal. Bledsoe would become an unrestricted free agent and be able to sign with any team. He can also refuse any trade during the season if he signs the qualifying offer with the Suns.
Bledsoe wants long term financial security so the qualifying could hurt him. If he battles injuries again and misses a big chunk of the season then his value will go down in free agency. He might not even get the 4 year $48 million dollar deal that the Suns are offering him right now if he is coming off another injury plague season.
The Suns are now looking to do a sign and trade for Eric Bledsoe. Before the Kevin Love trade the Suns called the Timberwolves and tried to work out a Bledsoe-Love trade. The point guard position is so talented; a lot of teams do not need a point guard. The Suns also signed Isaiah Thomas in free agency so they can replace Bledsoe if he gets traded.
I know Bledsoe wants more money but he needs to do more in this league. He’s a good young talent but he has yet to play a full season or at least start 70 games. If he signs that qualifying offer he will most likely leave the Suns next year. They need to come to an agreement on a contract or trade him before he leaves and they don’t get anything for him.