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Report: Lakers considered making a bid for restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe

Jul 20, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

Eric Bledsoe remains the most attractive free agent still available, but the combination of his restricted status with the Suns and his desire to secure a max contract have scared teams away from coming at him hard with a realistic offer sheet.

Phoenix has said repeatedly that the team will match any offer that Bledsoe receives, and that threat seems strong enough that no one else has yet been willing to try. Any team that did sign Bledsoe to an offer sheet would have that salary count against the cap for a three-day period that the Suns would have to match, and in the early days of free agency when things were happening so fast, it’s a risk no one was willing to take.

[MORE: Top 7 free agents still available]

But there were teams that considered it, and the Lakers were reportedly among the most prominent.

From Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:

Before the Lakers decided to make an amnesty claim for Carlos Boozer, occupying more than $3.2 million on their salary cap to ensure more space next summer, NBA sources said they considered making a bid for Phoenix restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe. Although the Lakers already acquired former Harvard standout Jeremy Lin and his $14 million salary for this upcoming season, it was only to create more space next summer. Bledsoe could have been the team’s point guard of the future. Teams such as Houston and Milwaukee are considering bids for Bledsoe, who remains the biggest free agent on the market.

L.A. wasn’t shy in free agency; the team boldly went after Carmelo Anthony, of course, but didn’t seem to feel that Bledsoe was worth the four-year max contract that he is seeking. While his skill set and age might justify making such a deal, there are durability questions that raise some concerns.

Bledsoe played in just 43 games last season, and just 40 for the Clippers two years before that. Missing half of half of his NBA seasons is obviously factoring into the lack of offers he’s receiving from teams, but so is his price tag.

The Suns are likely in the same position the Jazz were in with Gordon Hayward earlier this summer, in that they’re hoping another team can sign him to a four-year offer sheet so they don’t have to pay him the full five-year max that he’s currently demanding. The market is drying up, too, with most teams having committed available cap space to others — although a sign-and-trade is always possible before an offer sheet is actually signed.

Milwaukee may still be an option if Bledsoe decides it’s all about the money, but almost no one signs up to play in a small-market, cold-weather city like that voluntarily. The Suns are likely to hold firm in not going the full five years, especially without any other teams officially in the mix.

Bledsoe could always play out next season for the qualifying offer and then become an unrestricted free agent the year after, but most players coming off of rookie scale deals like to lock up a substantial chunk of guaranteed dollars as soon as the league allows it.

  1. patfic5 - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Bledsoe is trying to get that $$$ before that knee acts up again.

  2. seasickcecil - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    They should go after Eric Bledsoe too.

    • ranfan12 - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      wouldn’t be surprised. they’d end up using the players they just signed to get him. which would possibly do more bad then good

  3. campcouch - Jul 20, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    “Milwaukee may still be an option if Bledsoe decides it’s all about the money, but almost no one signs up to play in a small-market, cold-weather city like that voluntarily.”

    I’m not from Milwaukee, but the cold weather occurs during the WINTER. Some parts of the Earth experience that and people keep living in northern climes around the globe. There seems to be a misconception that all of the successful teams and players in NBA history come from, played or lived in cities that have never experienced cold. But hey, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, sinkholes and drought are alright as long as you can go to the beach and watch other people swim.

    • 6thsense10 - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:14 PM

      You didn’t address the other parts of the quote…. Mainly the small market part. New York and Boston are cold weather cities but still are able to attract free agents. Mainly because they are big market. Milwaukee is small market and cold…two fatal flaws for attracting free agents.

      • justtoldya - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:10 PM

        New York and Boston have heaters and electricity.

      • AZ Dem - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:48 PM

        Well, the NBA season is played in winter.

        I’ve been to MILW many times. And I like the town, the people, the German food, the beer.

        But you can’t go golfing in January in Milwaukee.

        I was born and raised in cold weather environments. I left. I’m never going back.

  4. ranfan12 - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    they better not involve julius randle with this…

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      on this same site in an article recapping about how the rookies fared in summer league, there is this about sir Randle

      “Randle can score in the post with a variety of moves, but he shot just 41.9 percent for Summer League, plus he never grabbed more than five rebounds. He showed potential but he’s a rookie with a lot of work to do.”

  5. luz56 - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    Lakers don’t have a damn clue… Blessed with a whole lot of luck and then Kobe now we are seeing the real Mitch Kupcake and Co. at work… Bledsoe would be a good addition as nobody want to play in LA. My how times have changed

  6. skoivu10 - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Steve Nash/cash/picks back to Phoenix for Bledsoe. Lol that’d be funny.

    • AZ Dem - Jul 20, 2014 at 9:52 PM

      Nash has said he will not agree to any trade.

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:23 AM

        Yeahhhh…’cept for he doesn’t have a choice. He’s not one of the handful of players that has that No Trade Clause built in his contract. So…there’s that.

  7. rrhoe - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    For Bledsoe to be demanding a 5yr/80mil deal from PHX based on a 43/gm body of work is absurd,as I’ve stated before he’s a good player that basically had a breakout season(or half of one). The offer of 4yrs/48mil that they offered is too much in my opinion but it’s fair,but without another team to set a market for him his options are limited.

  8. smoothaswilkes - Jul 20, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    The Boston Globe is the source of this Lakers news? Haha, okay. Seems totally legit.

    • AZ Dem - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:01 PM

      If you’ve ever read the Globe, you would know that they have a Sunday lowdown on news from around the NBA.

      They’ve got a guy, his only job is to call around the NBA, even internationally, gathering information about the NBA. Then he very informally writes it up.

      It’s actually very informative. The guy doesn’t inject his own opinion, doesn’t try to be clever. He just writes what people are telling him. Now, of course, GMs are never completely honest all the time when talking to journalists. Ditto for agents.

    • AZ Dem - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      PHX is not going to sell the ranch to keep Bledsoe. He was obtained to be a cornerstone of the rebuilding process of the franchise. But, thus far, he’s only proven that he has potential.

      PHX is actually playing this one smart. They’re not going to give up on Bledsoe. So, they’re going to match any offer. And a 4-year restricted max deal makes sense for PHX.

      Bledsoe is trapped. Nobody is going to make him an offer, because they know that’s exactly what PHX wants.

      If Bledsoe were to stay healthy and become the star player that everybody thinks he can be, a 5-year max deal would work for PHX. A 5-year max deal only works for Bledsoe if he stays injury plagued.

      The cap is going up next summer, and the max contracts next summer are going to be insane. That’s why everybody wants an opt out in the summer of 15. LeBron signed a 2 year deal with an opt out for 15. LeBron is going to opt out. He’s going to be a free agent next summer. Does Bledsoe take the 5 years or does he take a 2 year with a 15 opt out. If he has a great season, he’ll make a lot more money next summer. If he spends half the season on the DL, he’d be a fool to opt out because he’d be considered damaged goods. He would be screwed any way because he’d become little more than an expiring contract.

      I don’t envy Bledsoe’s position. I wouldn’t roll the dice. I’d take the security. I’d take the 5 years, even if it’s for less than the max.

      (To add: everybody in the NBA knows that PHX fully intends to re-sign Bledsoe. When PHX was courting LeBron and Melo, they were using Bledsoe as a carrot. The idea of the three of them playing together.)

  9. fordmandalay - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    Yes, Milwaukee happens to be cold in the winter. And Phoenix gets to be 110F almost every day in the summer. Which is worse?

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:32 AM

      Getting up extra early to shovel snow off your car and driveway and attach snow chains on your wheels, I’d imagine.

      I lived in Houston and Las Vegas, heat is crazy, but I wouldn’t in my life want to deal with all the stuff I just mentioned.

  10. khmerson562 - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:09 AM

    Too cold jn Milwaukee in the winter and too hot in phx in the summer. Come to California perfect weather all year round.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 21, 2014 at 3:34 AM

      It’s true. Shorts and flip flops in December is not a rare occurrence.
      Lakers baby!

  11. daveoo - Jul 21, 2014 at 4:57 AM

    How about hiring a coach first.

  12. djjackson81 - Jul 21, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Bottom line Sums are in the drivers seat. Laker have what 2.7 in cap space to spend? They can offer Bledsoe crap without a sign and trade. News flash Suns are not stupid there’s one guy in LA Suns would consider a sign and trade for and that’s Randle. Forget Lin or Nash and even Hill cause he got way overpaid. Lakers aren’t dumping all there crap on PHX for Eric sorry.

  13. djjackson81 - Jul 21, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Lakers want to talk its Randle centerpiece in S/T or offer Suns match thanks Lakers well take your number 6-10 draft pick also SUCKAS. If Bucks want to play its Greek Freak in S/T or step off or offer sheet Suns match.

  14. sportsfan18 - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    The Lakers are looking under the cushions for money for this kid…

    Hey, there’s a nickle!!!

  15. Gary - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Bledsoe was best as a backup for the Clippers. He’s not a reliable PG, and his best use is as a guy to run the breaks and also a defender to put pressure on PG’s who can’t handle his size and speed.

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