While players, coaches and owners in the NBA love to use the phrase ‘it’s just business, it’s quite clear that the situation between the Phoenix Suns and their restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe has deteriorated beyond that point, and although he’ll likely play for the team next season, it’s not hard to figure out he doesn’t really want to do it.
Bledsoe has been offered a four year deal by the Suns worth $48 million. He has been holding out for more. From them, or via an offer sheet from another team, something that hasn’t been coming and won’t be coming this season. He has the qualifying offer worth $3.7 million to sign which will keep him with the Suns for one more year before becoming a free agent, unrestricted this time.
According to Robert Sarver, the owner of the team, there has been no contact between the two sides over the last four months since the season ended. Bledsoe seemed pleased with his coach, teammates and the organization when the season was over. All the contact with him has been through his agents, clearly putting him in a spot where he seems unreachable and maybe slightly greedy or just with a very big ego.
Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points per game last season for the Suns but played only half the games. One might reckon that an injury-prone player might be a bit more zealous to sign a long term deal right now, even if it isn’t the max, regardless of whether or not he’s worth it (and he’s not worth it). But Bledsoe wants everything, and it seems to be that his agents have led him to believe that he’ll be able to make up the money he’ll be losing next season with his next contract.
Some math for you: If Bledsoe takes the qualifying offer, he’ll lose $8.3 million. That means his next deal, in order to be worth the holdout, will have to earn him at least $14 million a season and slightly more. Otherwise, this holdout has been about nothing. Unless he actually doesn’t want to play anymore for the Suns.
Something Bledsoe might be forgetting? The point guard market is going to be stacked next season when it comes to free agents, including a couple of players who can command a max contract. What will be left for Bledsoe after all of that? Right now it doesn’t seem like he’s making the smart decisions. Problem is someone is probably making them for him.