After what seemed to be growing hatred between the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe, something changed in the background which allowed the two sides to agree upon a max deal with the point guard wanted all along, although it might mean this will turn into a sign-and-trade, with the Minnesota Timberwolves more than interested in acquiring him via all the young talent they have to offer.
For months, it looked like the dealings between Bledsoe and the Suns would lead him off the team eventually. They offered him a $48 million, four-year deal, while Bledsoe and his reps were trying to get a max deal, despite Bledsoe playing just one season as a starter and missing half of it due to injury. But the recent interest from the Timberwolves gave the Suns an indication that Bledsoe might have a market out there, even with his new five-year, $70 million deal.
A restricted free agent, Bledsoe didn’t get any offer sheets the Suns had to match. However, with the Timberwolves showing interest and maybe further reviewing his potential contribution to the team, the Suns decided that what worked so well for the team this season while Bledsoe was healthy might be way to go instead of searching for another partner in the backcourt for Goran Dragic.
Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points per game last season as the Suns went 28-15 with him. Without him they were only 20-19, narrowly missing the playoffs. It was his fourth season in the NBA and first after a backup role with the Clippers as a starter. Bledsoe getting such an extension will obviously have an effect on what the Suns and Goran Dragic negotiate once the Slovenian guard reaches the point when he has to sign a new deal.
The reactions for the deal being completed made it seem like there was nothing wrong between player and team all this time. Bledsoe was planning on signing a $3.7 million, one-year deal so he’d become an unrestricted free agent next summer, free to sign the deal “of his dreams” with someone appreciating his max-contract worthy talents.
Now, the Suns have suddenly “seen the light” or simply understood what kind of business can be done. The Timberwolves are struggling in their extension talks with Ricky Rubio, and might become a bit more aggressive and creative with their talks about Bledsoe with the Suns if the negotiations with the Spanish point guard get to the point where no one is willing to move anymore.