It began as mere interest, but it seems like the Minnesota Timberwolves are going all in on the Eric Bledsoe signing, willing to offer him the max contract he’s been looking for, but due to max restrictions it will have to involve some sort of sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns.
Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points per game last season for the Suns, establishing himself as one of the hottest up & comers in the NBA during his first stint as a starting player. His season was caught in half, missing 39 games which probably cost the Suns a playoff spot.
The Timberwolves acquired Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett in the Kevin Love trade, but have also added Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers. They also have newly drafted Zach LaVine, Ricy Rubio who is on an expiring contract, with players like Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic who have big deals they would like to get rid of.
Bledsoe will only sign on a max contract, either with the Suns, who offered him $48 million over four years, or any other team. If no one gives him that deal, he’ll sign a $3.7 million one-year contract due to being a restricted free agent, and take his shot at earning that max deal in 2015, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The Suns seems to have planned ahead. They signed Isaiah Thomas from the Sacramento Kings and have also drafted Tyler Ennis in order to make sure that there’s plenty of backup to Bledsoe, whether he gets injured or goes. The relationship between the franchise and the player seems to have deteriorated to a point where everyone is quite willing to do everything possible to disconnect.
Bledsoe just might become the best player on the Timberwolves if he does arrive – something of a franchise player, especially if he continues to develop like he has over the last two or three seasons. Earning like one won’t hurt as well. As long as the Timberwolves don’t give up too much for him, the addition of such a player might actually make them look like a playoff team, which they aren’t that far off from despite the changes made this offseason.