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Suns extend qualifying offers to Eric Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker to make them restricted free agents

Jun 27, 2014, 9:07 PM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

The Suns overachieved last season by almost any measurement possible, winning 48 games in the difficult Western Conference in a year many expected would play out much the way it did in Philadelphia with the admittedly rebuilding Sixers.

Jeff Hornacek got maximum effort out of his players in his first year as head coach, and along with Goran Dragic playing near an All-Star level, Eric Bledsoe did the same when healthy, while P.J. Tucker filled a nice role for the team on both ends of the floor.

Phoenix has roster decisions to make this summer regarding Bledsoe and Tucker, both of whom could have become unrestricted free agents. But as expected, the Suns extended the formal qualifying offer to each, giving the team the right to match any offer they may receive when free agency opens at 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1.

The Suns have said repeatedly that they intend to match any offer Bledsoe may receive in free agency, but that gets much trickier when the actual time comes, especially if someone brings a max offer to the table to force the team’s hand. Bledsoe is a dynamic and athletic guard whose potential has many around the league intrigued, and his averages of 17.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 32.9 minutes per contest in just his fourth NBA season only helped fuel that relative level of interest.

Durability is the only real concern with Bledsoe, who appeared in only 43 games for Phoenix last year after suffering a knee injury which required surgery. Two seasons before that while playing for the Clippers, Bledsoe only managed to play in 40 games due to another knee injury which similarly needed surgery to repair.

As for Tucker, he’s a physical defensive player that has developed an ability to knock down the corner three when left open, and his grit and determination on the floor is something that seems to spread to his teammates.

The Suns would like to keep both players if the price is right. They have cap space to overpay a little for each, but Bledsoe will likely be the priority there if another team comes with an above-market value for Tucker that Phoenix is unable to justify matching.

By extending qualifying offers to each player on Friday, however, the Suns ensured that they will be the ones making those decisions.

  1. orlandochamps - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    Good move for the suns. Bledsoe is solid just hope the doesnt reinjure his knee

  2. antistratfordian - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    The “Orange Julius” nickname required Randle going to the Suns. Sorry, I don’t have anything else to say about this article other than that.

  3. spyder9669 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    I actually think Tucker is more important. Its extremely hard to find somebody to give 120% every single night while guarding the other teams best player. We have enough scoring and guard play on the roster to carry us.

    • bruiserbrigade - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:44 AM

      Have you seen Bledsoe play?

  4. saint1997 - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    PJ Tucker and TJ Warren at the 3….they should trade for JR Smith and JJ Barea

  5. bruiserbrigade - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Who else are they gonna spend the money on? Even if it is a max?

    Robert Sarver has learned his lesson, you can’t replace legit talent with a bunch of role players/scrubs (Josh Childress, Michael Beasley).

    Rarely do you get a shot at star players, so if you have one already, you must roll the dice.

  6. nickjackalson - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    spending money or assets to improve your bench, or team in general, seems like a valid answer following the dismantling of a top heavy heat team in the finals..

    what bothers me, in hindsight, is that my, or your favorite team, for that matter, presuming cap space, could have picked up Omer Asik and Arron Afflalo for..

    .. what was it again?

    two 2nd round picks, probably some cash and a young “upside&potential” player..

    meh..

  7. luz56 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Suns are moving in the right direction… Love it

  8. spyder9669 - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    I have seen Bledsoe play. For me, he is entirely to wreckless with his body and will never play a full 82 game season. He’s not all that reliable shooting the ball either. Plus he only hits in the high 70’s on his free throws. That last one is unacceptable for a guard.

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