The closer we get to the start of a new NBA season, the further apart it seems that the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe seem to be. Although it seems like he in staying the course of signing a qualifying offer, he might be traded before he gets the chance to.
The situation is simple, and quite similar to the one between the Detroit Pistons and Greg Monroe, although seemingly without the animosity on part of the player towards the team, which usually has a lot to do with the words the agents have been feeding him. The Suns are willing to offer to Bledsoe, a restricted free agent, $48 million over four years. No one is going to match it, no offer sheet has come in. Bledsoe? He feels “insulted” by the offer.
Now, a player who has just one season in a starting role so far in his career, in which he missed almost half the season due to injury, thinks he deserves a max contract. He did average almost 18 points per game last season, playing next to Goran Dragic as the two split the roles in the back court quite successfully despite both being point guards, but a max contract kind of player? Either it’s a very big ego they’re dealing with, or simply someone has been telling him all the wrong things.
The Suns have just under $19 million in cap space, so they have the option of trading Bledsoe for a high salary player without a problem. The problem isn’t cap space: It’s Bledsoe himself, who’ll need to agree to a sign-and-trade, and it doesn’t seem any team in the league is going to accept him with a contract that’s higher than $12 million a season. It’s not quite certain anyone will take him with what the Suns are offering him.
Many have been saying that a Bledsoe – Monroe switch is simply a must for both teams, but it might not work all that well for the Suns. Monroe isn’t the type of player who fits their offensive system, and his defense/rim protection isn’t exactly the kind coaches and general managers dream of. Bledsoe right now, like Monroe, is headed towards that qualifying offer, which in his case will be worth $3.7 million.
Right now? Everyone is losing. The Suns will be getting a player back who isn’t exactly happy to play for them, while Bledsoe is losing money, in the short and long run as well. However, in order to prove that he’ll be worth that kind of money once he becomes an unrestricted free agent, and unless the Suns don’t “punish” him for his off-season antics by letting him rot on the bench, maybe Bledsoe is planning on having a huge season, which isn’t so rare for guys on their contract years.