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Suns’ president reiterates team will match any offer for Eric Bledsoe

Feb 12, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are going to have to pay big money to keep Eric Bledsoe this summer. They know it. They’d just like to keep the price down a little.

The Suns are committed to Bledsoe, having traded Jared Dudley for him. They thought Bledsoe could be a cornerstone piece. However, that’s different than the Suns and Bledsoe seeing eye-to-eye on a price — before the season the two sides couldn’t reach a deal on a contract extension. Which means this summer Bledsoe is a restricted free agent (other teams can make offers but the Suns have the right to match it).

Since then Bledsoe has gone out and played at an All-Star level — 18 points and 5.8 assists per game, with a true shooting percentage of 58.7 and a PER of 20 (although he is currently out injured). Those kinds of numbers mean there is going to be a lot of interest from other teams this summer trying to poach the young guard.

As their GM has before, Suns president Lon Babby said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM the team will match any offer for Bledsoe this summer.

“I think our answer to (would we match any offer) is yes, that we know enough about Eric as a player,” Babby said. “Even more importantly, we’ve lived with him now for almost a year as a person. We like everything about him. Like him as a teammate, like him as a representative of our franchise and everything that he stands for.

“He’s got a tremendous future.”

With these public statements the Suns are trying to save a few dollars.

Bledsoe is going to be an eight figure a year player after this season, what the Suns don’t want is another team to come in and make a max or near max offer they have to match. Worse yet, they don’t want to see an offer with a poison pill that makes it more painful for the Suns. Less competition for Bledsoe’s services means a better price for the Suns, so they are trying to scare off suitors now.

It’s all a negotiation. It’s part of the game. They just need to be careful not to spoil their relationship with their young star in the effort to save a few dollars.

  1. hildezero - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    I’ve never heard of Bledsoe before he came to the Suns. But man… this cat just came outta nowhere! He’s a great player.

    • borderline1988 - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:08 PM

      With statements like these, the Lakers should just offer him a max contract on Day 1 of free agency (if Phoenix hasn’t yet re-signed him). It would screw over the Suns, and for the Lakers, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have a young star like Bledsoe at practically any price.

  2. zerole00 - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    Honest question here, at this point in time, is it even POSSIBLE to deal a a poison pill to the Suns? They’ve got almost no big contracts on the books (remember, they were supposed to be in a rebuilding stage) and mostly rookies right?

    • casualcommenter - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      If Phoenix believes Bledsoe is worth a max contract, then it’s impossible to design a poison-pill contract offer to Bledsoe.

      That’s because it’s impossible to offer Bledsoe more than the max contract.
      …That’s why it’s called a “max contract.”

  3. lakerade - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    I don’t buy the notion Phoenix really sees a long term future with Bledsoe and Dragic as the starting backcourt. Am I missing something or are they not undersized? It’s certainly exciting and clearly good enough for the playoffs, but I guess how they fare in the Real Season will shed more light on that pair’s overall effectiveness on a game and in turn Bledsoe’s worth in that plan.

    • reastnt - Feb 12, 2014 at 9:02 PM

      You are missing something.

  4. adoombray - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    “We like everything about him. Like him as a teammate, like him as a representative of our franchise and everything that he stands for.”

    They said almost the exact same thing after drafting Kendall Marshall

  5. jerdogthompson - Feb 12, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Now I’m not saying the Suns haven’t had some real quality wins this year. However, to me they are a lot like Portland. Playing way above their ability, after the 22-5 start for Portland I told everyone “I’m buying the story but I want a 30 day money back guarantee”. Portland is losing grip on the 3 seed and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them slip to 4-6.

    I see a similar fate for PHX, as the playoffs approach the elite teams will be stepping it up and teams like Memphis, Dallas & Denver will give it a run as well. I can see PHX making the playoffs barely but regardless of who they face they will likely get blown out of the water.

    They do have a bright future, just don’t see them making a meaningful run for another 2-3 seasons.

    • buckshowalter - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      If they land in the seven or eight seed, they will not advance. However, if they can maintain a six seed or go higher then they have a real chance to win a playoff series. This can create serious momentum for a young team (a la Golden State from last year) moving forward.

  6. sunsbolts7 - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:39 AM

    The Suns are going to be that 6-8 seed NOBODY wants to be matched up again in the 1st round.

  7. mickdamill - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Offering a PG max contract in this league is suicide. Bledsoe is a great player but shouldnt get any more than 12-14 a year, especially when Dragic is proving he can provide the Suns a future as their leader.

    Kurt made a good point in the article that the Suns are trying to save a few bucks by making this statement. Teams will think why offer him anything if the Suns are going to match. You better believe the Suns would let him walk if another team decided to offer him a max contract.

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